Obama delays Asia trip to deal with health care



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 contentious debate.

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 departure date.

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.

PTI