President Obama surprised the nation when he surfaced Sunday in Afghanistan after a whirlwind week in which he signed his health care reform initiative into law. While the Sunday morning political talk shows mostly played “Monday morning quarterback,” dissecting and debating the Obama administration’s strategy to get the historic health care legislation passed, President Obama was at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, getting ready to meet with President Hamid Karzai. The president, while wearing a brown bomber jacket over an open collared shirt, also spoke to the American troops stationed in the war zone.
In a brief speech that repeatedly praised the efforts of American troops, the president stuck to a few key themes – the nature of the military mission, his commitment to provide the necessary resources for victory, and a summary of the successes thus far against the Taliban.
“We have struck blows against al-Qaeda’s leadership as well as the Taliban’s.”
“They are hunkered down. They are worried about their own safety. It’s harder for them to move and to train and to plot and to attack.”
“They offer fear and you offer hope.”
“All of that makes America safer and we are going to keep them on the run.”
“I’m confident all of you are going to get the job done right here in Afghanistan.”
President Obama, excerpts from his remarks Sunday at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan
According the Associated Press, Obama had gone Friday afternoon to the presidential retreat at Camp David, Md., from which unnoticed departures are easier because of its secluded mountain location.
Just a week after the House of Representatives passed the healthcare reform bill, President Obama seems to have come to life. After signing the bill into law last Tuesday, the president has been on a tear, reaching a deal on an arms reduction agreement with Russia, drawing a line in the sand after making little headway with Israel President Benjamin Netanyahu, and announcing 15 recess appointments on Saturday. The president appears to be eager to combat the growing questions about his leadership and capitalize on the momentum gained by rallying his party behind his healthcare initiative.
“They offer fear and you offer hope” could conceivably turn out to be a catchphrase Obama continues to use stateside as he barnstorms the country in the coming weeks to build support for both the new healthcare law and his fellow Democrats up for reelection in 2010.