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Returning from Hawaii. (Photo/WWR)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

President's Schedule: Tuesday, April 13

It's day two of the Nuclear Security Summit and and it looks like the administration is gaining a bit of ground on its efforts to isolate Iran and impose economic sanctions.

The key phrase here is "a bit." Although White House officials say Chinese President Hu Jintao has agreed to negotiate with the U.S. on tightening the screws on Iran, the question is: What kind of sanctions, exactly? The Chinese aren't saying - at least publicly - and there are no indications they'll go along with anything as tough as what the U.S. and allies like France are calling for.

Indeed, there have been signs that to get the Chinese and Russians - both of whom hold critical veto power in the U.N. Security Council - on board, that the Obama administration has been watering down its position, in hopes of eventually getting Beijing and Moscow on board. WWR recently asked presidential press secretary Robert Gibbs, for instance, if cutting off gasoline shipments to Iran was still on the table. Gibbs demurred (Iran is a giant oil producer but can't refine much of it, which is why it has to import much of its gasoline).

To underscore China's reluctance to back Obama on Iran, while Hu was here in Washington yesterday, a foreign ministry official back in Beijing said "Sanctions and pressure cannot fundamentally resolve the issues.”

Earlier, the White House counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan, told reporters that both al- Qaeda and organized criminal networks remain focused on getting their hands on highly enriched uranium or plutonium - essential to making a nuclear weapon - and warned, ominously, that the clock was ticking.

"We cannot wait any longer," he said, "Before we lock down these stockpiles, because we don't want to have any type of materials that fall into the hands of terrorist groups because the results would be devastating."


The Schedule

The final day of the nuclear security summit begins with the usual group photo with Heads of Delegation (also known as the "Class Photo"). President Obama will then deliver remarks at the first Plenary Session; after a working lunch there will be a second Plenary.

Heads of state who will sit down with the President today include Turkish Prime Minster Erdogan Argentina's President Fernandez and German Chancellor Merkel.

Obama will also squeeze in a news conference at 4:30 this afternoon.


9:20AM THE PRESIDENT participates in Heads of Delegation Group Photo
Washington Convention Center

9:30AM THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT attend Plenary Session I of the Nuclear Security Summit, THE PRESIDENT delivers opening remarks

12:00PM THE PRESIDENT attends Heads of Delegation working lunch
Washington Convention Center Dining Room

1:30PM THE PRESIDENT meets with Prime Minster Erdogan of Turkey
Washington Convention Center

2:00PM THE PRESIDENT attends Plenary Session II of the Nuclear Security Summit
Washington Convention Center

4:00PM THE PRESIDENT meets with President Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina

4:30PM THE PRESIDENT holds a press conference
Washington Convention Center

5:15PM THE PRESIDENT attends Heads of Delegation reception
Washington Convention Center Dining Room

6:00PM THE PRESIDENT holds bilateral meeting with Chancellor Merkel of Germany
Washington Convention Center


On This Day:

1743: Thomas Jefferson was born. He was the 3d President, serving between 1801-1809. But the great man didn't consider that significant enough to put on his tombstone. If you have ever visited his grave at Monticello, Virginia, it reads:

"Here was buried Thomas Jefferson. Author of the Declaration of American Independence of the Statue of Virginia for Religious Freedom and Father of the University of Virginia."

Presidential Quote:

"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine." - Thomas Jefferson

The Fine Print:

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