Obama Cites Jobs Payoff From Asia Trip

After a nine-day trip through Asia in which he showed command on the world stage, President Barack Obama is headed back to debt-deadlocked Washington, where he'll confront fresh reminders of the limits of his power at home.

Obama departed from Bali's international airport Saturday afternoon for a 21-hour flight that, factoring in time-zone changes, was to return him to the White House before dawn Sunday. He'll be arriving days ahead of a deadline for a congressional supercommittee to produce recommendations to attack the country's yawning deficit.

But even though the president spoke to the supercommittee leaders from Air Force One as he headed out of town and urged them to get a deal, the panel is no further along than when Obama left Washington: frozen stuck along partisan lines.

If no agreement is reached, steep cuts would be enacted across the federal government that both sides say they want to avoid, particularly to the defense budget. But no end game was in sight as Obama made his way back home from the other side of the globe.

Also awaiting him are presidential politics heading into the 2012 election year, something Obama largely avoided while traveling in Hawaii, Australia and Indonesia. And with his opponents on the attack over his stewardship of the listless economy, Obama will renew his largely futile efforts to get Congress to pass his jobs bill as he aims to cast Republicans as the ones to blame.

For Obama, it may amount to something of a harsh homecoming after playing proud host in his native Hawaii to a summit of Pacific Rim nations, and traveling on to two countries where he remains highly popular and received warm welcomes.

Obama set out in his Asia-Pacific tour to deepen U.S. engagement in a fast-growing region that the White House views as increasingly critical to America's security and economic prosperity. He achieved some successes, including progress on a regional free-trade deal that could pay off with U.S. jobs, and a new military agreement with Australia that will boost the U.S. defense posture in the region by deploying more marines and U.S. aircraft to Australia.

Obama also announced he was dispatching his secretary of state to Myanmar in a significant step to prod forward reforms in that country, and throughout the trip the complexities of the U.S. relationship with China were on display.

But domestic issues were on Obama's mind as he wrapped up his trip. Obama focused his Saturday morning radio and Internet address on the trade deals he presided over and the jobs they were likely to create back home, including a multi-billion-dollar Boeing sale of commercial planes to Indonesia and a deal to export General Electric engines.

He portrayed his trip around the Pacific Rim as a hunt for new markets.

"As the fastest-growing region in the world, no market is more important to our economic future than the Asia Pacific - a region where our exports already support five million American jobs," he said.

In a further reminder of what awaits Obama in Washington, Saturday's Republican address focused on the work of the supercommittee. Sen. Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania, a member of the panel and architect of one of the central GOP proposals, said that despite the fast-approaching deadline he remained hopeful lawmakers could still accomplish some deficit reduction.

"We have what is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pass legislation that will generate millions of jobs, create a simpler, fairer tax system with lower rates for everyone, and put our government on a path toward fiscal sanity," he said.

On China, throughout his trip Obama sent both public and private signals to the rising giant, cementing American power in a manner seen to counter China, and scolding Chinese leaders about the need to play by the rules economically.

On the final day of his trip, Saturday in Indonesia, Obama held a surprise meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of an East Asia summit, focusing on the economic matters that have prompted disputes between the two major world powers.

White House National Security Advisor Tom Donilon told reporters that Obama stressed the importance of China adjusting the value of its currency, which the United States contends is deeply undervalued, and he said Obama and Wen also briefly discussed territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

China's state broadcaster, CCTV, reported that Wen told Obama the grim global economic picture made it practical and necessary for the U.S. and China to strengthen their economic and trade relationship.

He said more trade and investment would help ease the Sino-U.S. trade imbalance. Wen also restated Beijing's call for the U.S. to relax restrictions on high-tech exports to China, CCTV reported.

China, Wen said, had made strides in reforming its currency exchange and would continue to do so, the broadcaster said.

Later, Obama and leaders at an East Asia summit retreat raised the issue of maritime security, prompting Wen to respond. A senior U.S. administration official told reporters aboard Air Force One that Wen's remarks signaled a gradual evolution toward resolving quarrels with Asian neighbors over the major shipping route. He said U.S. officials were encouraged by Wen's response.

Donilon downplayed tensions and rejected suggestions that the nine-day mission in the Asia-Pacific was designed to thwart a rising China. The U.S. policy, Donilon said, was about rebalancing U.S. interests and focusing once more on the Asia-pacific region.

"This has nothing to do with isolating or containing anybody," he said.

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  • by Tyee Location: Hyde County on Nov 20, 2011 at 02:50 AM
    Ear marks make our budget look better, but in fact if you look more closely, the ear marks are almost killing the U.S.A. budget. A billion here, three billion there, a few million in another state adds up to a trillions of dollars which are not in our budget.
  • by voter Location: nc on Nov 19, 2011 at 02:24 PM
    his american energy policies have already cost the country over a million jobs. he shut down oil exploration and development, natural gas, recently the coal and power plants are being phased out, the canadian oil sands pipeline was nixed. while pumping millions into bankrupt solyndra, and running guns to the mexican cartels. the whole time blaming republicans and g w bush, and instigating the van jones led "occupy" mobs of hippies and malcontents. is it really possible these liberals are this stupid?
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: OWS Washington NC on Nov 19, 2011 at 02:02 PM
    Ever consider when you spent 5 trillion dollars on nothing that that gridlock just might show up? We sent republicans to stop you insane spending. Why? Can anyone out there tell us how much better off you are today than 5 years ago? Ok, now that 5 trillion is spent, just what do you have to show for it? A new car, house, good job...a rebate check? And just think, these idiots that voted for this worthless leader will vote for him again. I am not kidding. Its not about the fact he cannot make the three point shot he was hired to make, its about who he knows. And he knows some very rich people that helped him get into office. Yet I see and read posts about those 1% rich people, deja vue, he is one of them in their circle only its not a clean bunch of rich people. Warren Buffet, who hasn't paid taxes since 2002 who wants to pay more, George Soros who sponsors him, tore the retirement money out of 4 countries citizens and then there is the union thugs. Need I say more. And for those losers that voted on this guy, do you homework next time...geez...really...what were you thinking?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Nov 19, 2011 at 04:01 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
      Ummmm, now tell us what the GOP has that will create job growth. Also tell us what specifically they have proposed that would benefit the Middle Class and not the wealthy. EVERY, EVERY proposal they have submitted has been designed to benefit the wealthy and pull the Middle class down lower.
      • reply
        by voter on Nov 19, 2011 at 06:55 PM in reply to
        read my post @ 0527. if you want recovery,,REVERSE everything the vacationer in chief has done. obama and his collection of useful idiots is the worst thing that has ever happened to this country. unless, of course, your a freeloader or a deadbeat.
        • reply
          by To voter on Nov 19, 2011 at 09:36 PM in reply to voter
          I read your post and it is nothing but factless dribble! Ranting and raving without one shred of truth!
        • reply
          by voter on Nov 20, 2011 at 06:25 AM in reply to voter
          0955 response; thanks for answering the last question in my post.
    • reply
      by To OSOC on Nov 19, 2011 at 09:41 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
      You go ahead and throw your vote away on the GOP front-runner. Today, I think it is Gingrich-the Freddie Mac lobbyist who lies about the 1.3 MILLION they paid him!!
  • by Anonymous on Nov 19, 2011 at 01:33 PM
    Blah Blah Blah. Your still not getting voted in again no matter what you do.
    • reply
      by To anonymous et al on Nov 19, 2011 at 02:33 PM in reply to
      blah, blah, blah to you too! You and the others with their brainless comments prove that the GOP does not give a fig for this country-all you care about is power! This was a necessary move! Meanwhile, Boehner can't even get his own party to support their super-committee respresentative! It doesn't matter what they agree to-it will NEVER pass that juvenile House!
      • reply
        by hey on Nov 20, 2011 at 04:02 AM in reply to To anonymous et al
        don't pick on Boehner too much or he will start to cry again.
  • by Kimo Location: Belhaven on Nov 19, 2011 at 01:11 PM
    If he doesn't let Boeing open their plant in SC, they may not be able to deliver all those airplanes he sold. Planes he sold??? give me a break... Is this "free trade" guy the same one who sat on the Panama, Columbia and Korea free trade agreements for three years before sending them to congress?? Hmmm...
    • reply
      by To Kimo on Nov 19, 2011 at 09:39 PM in reply to Kimo
      We can NOT be totally obligated to China for our exports-anyone with any sense knows that-but apparently not YOU! Without the "competition" you "free market" screamers keep slinging, China will be our only export and that is disaster! We HAVE to develop other markets! It's called global markets, but then those of you still living in the 19th century don't realize that!
  • by me Location: bayboro on Nov 19, 2011 at 11:56 AM
    The best payoff would be for him to stay in Asia.
  • by Clifton Location: Washington on Nov 19, 2011 at 11:37 AM
    He may have produced jobs in Asia, but I've yet to see any jobs here....except the celebrities he has "hired" to promote his lies.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 19, 2011 at 10:11 AM
    Four more years of Barrack Obama would be our greatest gift to China, and the end of America's rein as the worlds economic super power.
  • by Dawg on Nov 19, 2011 at 09:22 AM
    Free-trade deals only mean one thing, that more jobs will be leaving this country for other contries. Think of NAFTA and how many jobs left Beaufort Co. alone after that went into effect.
    • reply
      by To Dawg on Nov 19, 2011 at 02:31 PM in reply to Dawg
      If we don't give China some "competition" what do you think is going to happen to us? This was a smart move!

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