Obama delays Asia trip to deal with health care
Washington: President Barack Obama has
delayed his first international trip of the year, a visit to
Asia, to focus attention on the final push to salvage
sputtering US health care legislation after a year of
The trip to Guam, Australia and Indonesia, the world's
most populous Muslim country where Obama spent several years
as a youngster, will now run from March 21-26, rather than
March 18-24, according to a senior administration official who
spoke condition of anonymity because the White House hadn't
announced the delay.
The trip was scheduled to coincide with his daughters'
spring vacation from school, but now his family apparently
will not accompany him because of the later dates.
Press secretary Robert Gibbs had insisted that Congress
act on health legislation by March 18, Obama's original
But the White House seemed to have back off that as
Democratic leaders tried to round up enough votes for passage
of Obama's top priority.
Obama plans to launch a comprehensive partnership with
Indonesia, mark the 70th anniversary of US-Australia relations
and discuss Afghanistan and nuclear non-proliferation with
Australia's leaders. In the US territory of Guam, he will meet
with US military personnel on the island.