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January 27, 2010

Last Thoughts
Posted by Heather Hurlburt

So, what's the core national security message here?  Team Obama is not giving up on its national security agenda.  Look at the pieces:

- a brushback pitch on the relentless partisanship on national security issues, and insistence that national security spending (including State and foreign assistance) stay outside any spending freeze.

-firmly claiming the mantle of success on a core campaign promise -- ending the war in Iraq.

-doubling down on two core national security concerns that we know are personal for Obama -- safeguarding nuclear materials and reducing the threat posed by nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists and prohibiting torture as an element of a smart counter-terrorism strategy.

-reclaiming a few disparate issues (trade and repealing don';t ask don't tell -- how often will you see those in the same phrase) that others have said were dead. 

What does this add up to?  A blend of toughness -- more Al Qaeda operatives captured or killed in 2009 than 2008 -- and engagement that he's betting he can make work and get Americans to support.  And, remember, the poll numbers suggest that they do support him.


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Obama seems to have gotten the message loud and clear, but it will be interesting to see how he goes about improving the tense relationships with America's enemies without jeopardizing it's other, more friendly, relationships.

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