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Obama leaves for Asia to boost trade, cooperation

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Obama is off on a weeklong, 16,000-mile trip to Asia as part of his effort to pay more attention to the region and boost economic and security cooperation. Hell spend three days in Vietnam for meetings with top leaders, a speech on US-Vietnam relations, visits to cultural treasures and sessions with civil society leaders and entrepreneurs. From Vietnam, he heads to Japan for a summit of the Group of Seven industrialized nations and a historic visit to Hiroshima.

WASHINGTON >> President Barack Obama is leaving on a weeklong, 16,000-mile trip to Asia as part of his effort to pay more attention to the region and boost economic and security cooperation.

He’ll spend three days in Vietnam, with stops in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, for meetings with top leaders, a speech on US-Vietnam relations, visits to cultural treasures and sessions with civic leaders and entrepreneurs. From Vietnam, he heads to Japan for a summit of the Group of Seven industrialized nations and a historic visit to Hiroshima.

Along the way, Obama will make a big push for the 12-nation trans-Pacific trade agreement, which includes the U.S., Vietnam and Japan. The deal is stalled in Congress, but Obama hopes it will one day increase trans-Pacific trade and make it easier for U.S. workers and companies to compete in Asia. The deal faces strong opposition from the leading 2016 presidential candidates and other critics, who say it doesn’t do enough to protect U.S. workers from unfair competition.

A key sticking point during Obama’s stay in Vietnam will be human rights. Five Republican senators sent the president a letter Friday labeling Vietnam “one of the most repressive regimes in the world” and urging Obama to press Vietnamese leaders to do more to respect freedom of religion and expression and other human rights. The letter was signed by Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, John Boozman of Arkansas, John Cornyn of Texas, James Lankford of Oklahoma and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.

Hours before Obama’s scheduled departure, Vietnam granted early release from prison to a Catholic priest who is one of its most prominent dissidents. The move is widely viewed as a goodwill gesture before the president arrives in Hanoi late Sunday night for an official visit.

The Catholic archdiocese of the central city of Hue reported on its webpage that it welcomed the return Friday of the Rev. Nguyen Van Ly from prison. Ly, 70, has served several long terms in prison or under house arrest for promoting political and religious freedoms in the communist nation.

Obama’s final year in office is heavy with foreign travel as he conducts what amounts to a long, global farewell tour. He’s already made a historic trip to Cuba and visited Saudi Arabia, Germany and England. He’s due to make a daytrip to Canada next month, attend a NATO summit in Poland in July and expected to become the first president to visit Laos in the fall. He’s also expected to attend a fall summit of the Group of 20 industrial and emerging-market nations in China and an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Peru in November.

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  • Regardless of how much he tries to LOOK presidential and TALK presidential, his efforts are hopelessly futile. He will go down in history for being known as The Great PHONY. The ONLY things he knows are stealing from future generations to finance his growing entitlement payouts, outright LYING to further his broken agendas, and weakening this country while bolstering our enemies. What an utter DISASTER this Incompetent fool has been.

    • People grumble about everything the president does, so it’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t. With only a few months left in his presidency, I’m glad he’s actually still doing stuff that presidents are supposed to do instead of sit in the White House twiddling his thumbs waiting for his term to end.

    • Sorry the republicans have already stolen from future generations. Making pot holes around the world sure was a wise investment wasn’t it? How dumb can a party be? Where is Eisenhower when you need him? Instead they have the Donald. What a joke.

      • Joke is a person who plays with reality a person who talks humorously: Hence Bernie Sanders and his Socialist views of turning Our great USA into a Socialist country?? Yeah ,where is the days of Eisenhower when you need him,because if he was here?? Bernie would not have existed .
        A Joke is a presidential Candidate who doesn’t realize he doesn’t have a chance of winning the presidency in the Democratic Party.(reality) Yours truly Bernie Sanders. It can’t come soon enough when Bernie and his anarchist protesters are long gone and forgotten. Joke? Indeed.

        • Eisenhower was dedicated to government spending on domestic infrastructure.

          He was the first to warn about the dangers of the military industrial complex.

          He was opposed to corporate greed.

          Throughout the his administration, the top federal marginal tax rate on personal income was never below 90%.

          I liked Ike, but he would probably like Bernie more than Trump.

    • Much better to have him in office than a Republican; the party that hates human beings. If Obama did nothing more than put Kagan and Sotomayor on the Supreme Court that alone would justify my vote for him. I found this listing of other accomplishments: “Obama withdrew US soldiers from Iraq (though resuming bombing later), relaxed relations with Cuba, executed Osama bin Laden, reached a nuclear deal with Iran and vastly improved America’s standing in the world. Twenty million uninsured adults now have health insurance because of Obamacare. Unemployment was 7.8% and rising when he came to power; today, it is 4.9% and falling. Wind and solar power are set to triple; the automobile industry was rescued. He eventually spoke out forcefully for gun control.” I’ve been able to hold my head up high when traveling overseas; during the Bush years, I’d lie and say I was from Canada, and people that knew I was American would tell me how sorry they felt for me. The hatred people hurl at him, like this comment, calling him a “fool” and a “phony” are so shameful. You need to be careful about wallowing in such hatred, it will engulf you one day. Like a former acquaintance of mine who kept posting anti-Bush/Cheney screeds…when they were no longer in office! I asked him what the point was, and he went off saying their crimes needed to be exposed, etc. He’d go on to such an extent that even though I was never a Bush supporter, I got sick of his ranting and ended our relationship. That’s the danger; keep saying ugly things, and eventually you’ll become ugly too.

      • PoiDog,

        Obviously a lot uneducated people voted for Barack Obama other wise he wouldn’t be in office,

        Here’s a short list of his corruption, dishonesty, and incompetence accomplishments.

        1) Because of Obama’s policies since he became President, 11,472,000 Americans have left the work force.

        2) “Fewer Americans are at work today than in April 2000, even though the population since then has grown by 31 million.” — Mortimer Zuckerman

        3) The number of Americans on welfare has hit record highs.

        4) A record 20% of Americans were on food stamps in 2013.

        5) The almost 11 million Americans getting disability payments is now approaching the population of Cuba

        6) Our nation lost its AAA credit rating because Obama is spending so much money.

        7) Not only was Cash for Clunkers a wasteful government program that “cost $1.4 million for every job it created and did little to reduce carbon emissions,” destroying the “clunkers” helped dramatically jack up the cost of used cars for the rest of the country.

        8) After BP had a huge oil spill in the Gulf, Obama not only bungled the clean-up process, he slowed oil production from other companies that had done nothing wrong which led to higher oil prices.

        9) Obama has helped drive up the cost of gas by blocking the Keystone Pipeline.

        10) When he was running for office in 2008, Obama claimed that, “Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” He lied.

        11) Through 2013, the Obama Administration had imposed new regulations on businesses that cost 46 billion dollars a year.

        12) Taxpayers lost 25 billion dollars on Obama’s bailout of General Motors and Chrysler. Chrysler isn’t even an American company any more. It’s now owned by an Italian company, Fiat.

        13) When he was running for office, Obama called Bush “unpatriotic” for adding so much to the debt and promised to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. Yet, the national debt is up 7 trillion dollars since Obama became President. That’s more debt than all U.S. Presidents from George Washington through Bill Clinton combined.

        14) Obama’s administration gave guns to Mexican cartels that were used to murder hundreds of Mexicans and border agent Brian Terry. The Obama Administration has refused to cooperate with the investigation or hold anyone accountable for that illegal behavior.

        15) The NSA has spied on Americans under Obama.

        16) Under Obama, the CIA spied on the Senate.

        17) Obama’s campaign contributors at Solyndra were handed 535 million dollars of taxpayer money that the Obama Administration knew they would never be able to pay back before they gave it to them.

        18) The IRS targeted Obama’s political enemies including Christian groups, pro-Israel groups, and most prominently, Tea Party groups. The Obama Administration has refused to cooperate with the investigation or hold anyone accountable for the illegal behavior.

        19) Numerous donors to Mitt Romney were audited by the IRS after giving him large contributions.

        20) When the EPA and IRS were asked to provide emails requested by Congress as part of an investigation into their illegal activities, they’ve claimed over and over again to have lost the information because of “hard drive crashes.” Given that it’s quite easy to back up a hard drive and that they’re required by law to retain that information, it seems likely that they’re habitually destroying evidence to hide their illegal activities.

        21) Veterans received poor health care and even died because of the incompetence and cover-ups of Obama’s VA.

        22) Even Barney Frank admits Barack Obama shamelessly lied to the American people to get Obamacare passed – and lie, he did. He promised that Americans could keep their insurance plans, that they could keep their doctors, and that Obamacare would save the average family $2500 per year. Not only were all of those lies, Obama knew they were lies when he made those promises.

        23) Barack Obama has broken the law repeatedly by making at least 23 unilateral changes to Obamacare.

        24) Obama has been illegally trying to force Christians to pay for abortifacients via Obamacare.

        25) Obamacare has been a disaster that cost millions their insurance and sent health care costs spiraling into the stratosphere.

        26) Obama is taking 700 billion dollars out of Medicare to put into Obamacare.

        27) The website portion of Obamacare, healthcare.gov, was a non-functional disaster for months when it rolled out and Obama claimed he was completely unaware that there was anything wrong with it.

        28) Instead of calming people down, Obama helped to turn Americans against each other racially be inserting himself into the Trayvon Martin case.

        29) Obama created so much racial animosity by attacking the police when they had done nothing wrong in the Henry Louis Gates case that he had to have a ridiculous “beer summit” to try to undo the damage.

        30) The Department of Justice failed to pursue a voter intimidation case against members of the New Black Panthers because they were black and liberal. Former DOJ official J. Christian Adams quit over the case and “accused his former employer of instructing attorneys in the civil rights division to ignore cases that involve black defendants and white victims.”

        31) George W. Bush quit playing golf in 2003 because he didn’t want the mother of some fallen soldier to see the Commander-in-Chief out playing golf. He also said he thought playing golf during a war sent the wrong signal to the American people. Through June of 2014, Obama was up to 177 rounds and is on pace to play twice as much in his second term as his first term.

        32) Obama chose tax cheat Tim Geithner to be his Secretary of the Treasury and then has had the audacity to spend his whole presidency pushing for higher taxes.

        33) After promising to unite America when he was running for office in 2008, Obama has been the most hyper-partisan President in decades.

        34) Despite the fact that Barack Obama claimed to believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman when he was running for President in 2008, his Department of Justice asked states attorney general to refuse to defend their states’ bans on gay marriage in court.

        35) The Department of Justice has worked overtime to help increase voter fraud by fighting against voter ID. This is despite the fact that you need ID to buy alcohol, drive a car, fly on a plane or even to use Obamacare.

        36) He’s the reason why countless Americans have been groped, molested and harassed by the TSA, even though agents never caught a terrorist sticking their hand down anyone’s pants.

        37) He’s responsible for the dumbing down of our education system with Common Core.

        38) We first landed on the moon in 1969, but because of Obama, we’re no longer even capable of going into space.

        39) His servile bowing to other world leaders is embarrassing and un-American.

        40) Barack Obama engaged in an illegal war in Libya without the permission of Congress that helped turn that country into an unstable basket case run by radical Islamists. How bad is it? America, Libyans and the rest of the world were better off with Muammar Gaddafi in charge. That’s how bad it is.

        41) Radical Islamist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan “described himself as mujahedeen” and yelled “Allahu Akbar” as he murdered 13 of his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood. The Obama Administration labeled that as “workplace violence” rather than admitting there was a terrorist attack on his watch.

        42) He released 5 Taliban terrorists In exchange for deserter Bowe Bergdahl.

        43) Americans died at Benghazi because Obama’s administration didn’t take their repeated requests for additional security seriously.

        44) Russia annexed Crimea while Obama did nothing of consequence to discourage it from invading. That’s not a surprise for a President who is fond of throwing out “red lines” that don’t mean anything.

        45) Obama’s premature pull-out in Iraq and foolish refusal to get a status of forces agreement in Iraq left the country vulnerable and led to the terrorists in ISIS taking over a large portion of that country.

        46) Barack Obama unilaterally implemented the DREAM Act that Congress didn’t pass and illegally handed out work permits to illegal aliens.

        47) Obama is threatening to bypass Congress and simply “legalize” millions more of illegal immigrants even though it’s illegal and unconstitutional and it hurts the American people and will further encourage even more illegal aliens to surge across the border.

        48) The fence on our southern border was supposed to be completed by 2009. The Obama Administration has made it clear that it doesn’t intend to finish it during his presidency.

        49) Barack Obama is deliberately creating a crisis on the southern border by refusing to deport illegal aliens crossing into our country.

        50) For all practical purposes, Barack Obama has already unilaterally implemented amnesty in America because “at least 99.92% of illegal immigrants and visa overstays without known crimes on their records” aren’t being deported.

  • The loser voters above chime in while sucking on their oxygen and smoking a cig. Constipation was bad last night? All the while taking from the SS entitlement program and or medicare. Loser should just fade away.

  • Just hope Barry doesn’t do too much damage before he leaves office . Though ,I sense some of it ,IS intentional!Barry is going to leave behind be a huge mess in his wake!
    And Yes!President Trump will need a whole case of Charmin napkins to clean-up his mess.Cause a single roll? will not be enough! & all along you thought GW was a bad President….5.4 months and counting

  • Too little, too late.
    I hope, no, I know he’ll get in a few rounds of golf.
    Could this be a diversion before his secret meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un?

  • It’s delusional for a president to think they can do something to increase trade, the reality is the only think politicians can do to increase trade is to get out of the way. The producers of this world are perfectly competent and able to take it from there.

  • Couldn’t he visit Laos and Vietnam at the same time, instead of burning Air Force I money multiple times. He’s just going back and forth all over the place.

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