The Los Angeles Times front page story focuses on Obama's struggle to get the GOP's support and how he's been "combative" toward Republicans. Campaign supporters are being urged to contact Congress and others are running ads targeting republicans for just saying "no" without attempting to come up with some productive ideas. "'Just say no is the right advice to give your teenager about drugs," the president said. "It is not an acceptable response to whatever economic policy is proposed by the other party." Obama is visiting swing states and will even make an appearance on Jay Leno's "The Tonight Show", which a sitting-president has never done before, all in an attempt to "pressure lawmakers to back Obama's plans in Congress, particularly his $3.6 trillion budget." The money will be used to revamp health care, convert to alternative fuel and stabilize the financial sector. He's working overtime to lift his approval rating after the hard-hitting news about AIG. The Pew poll reports his rating at 59% from 64% last month and Opinion Research recorded a 3% drop.
The second most important news story is a follow up on AIG's executive bonuses. There is a mess of legalities in getting the $165 million dollars back, legal experts say. Since the government owns 80% of the company, lawsuits would inadvertently be against the government. The Obama administration is trying to attach bold-prints to AIG's next round of bailout money that would strategically get the bonus money to the taxpayers. To no avail, bonuses ranging from $1,000 to $6.5 million would remain in the hands of 400 employees in the company's Financial Products Division. Hope lies in New York Atty. Gen. Andrew Cuomo who will subpoena AIG to figure out if they committed fraud early on by agreeing to the contracts early last year that would have otherwise prevented them from being paid.
A third story about Obama appeared today in the Nation section of The Times. During Obama's campaign he promised to declare Armenian genocide, but he delayed the declaration because of "worries that Turkey's aid in the Mideast would be at risk. The Ottoman Turks killed the Armenian's in 1915 and descendants are seeking the affirmation. Obama will visit Turkey on April 5 and Amenian Americans are pushing for a declaration on April 24, the annual remembrance day. Obama wants to be able to "use Turkey as part of the military supply line for Afghanistan. It also would like more help regarding Iraq, Iran's nuclear program, Russia and Mideast peace." A U.S. statement could break the progress Turkey and Armenia have been making like talks of "opening borders and embasies, initiating economic cooperation and establishing a historical commission."
The Washington Post lead with the AIG bonuses story, reporting that the Obama administration is being hit hard by the news of AIG's $165 million executive bonuses. This may be the blow that hurts his congressional and public support. The Post was the first to release the AIG story yesterday and, once again, Obama quickly responded. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was questioned about why AIG wasn't stopped from giving millions out of their billions in bailout money to the executives. Gibbs' answered that government lawyers are looking to "wrest these bonuses".
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The New York Times also focuses on AIG, but there is no direct focus on Obama. The NY Times does mention Obama's trip to California on Wednesday whereas the LA Times does not. The rest of the story is similar to the LA Times.