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Tardy Obama plays second fiddle to Swiss at UN


It happens every year. When the U.S. president arrives at the United Nations for the General Assembly’s annual gathering of world leaders, the east side of midtown Manhattan goes into lockdown mode. You can’t cross the streets before he arrives and until well after the most powerful man in the world has safely arrived inside the headquarters of world diplomacy.

President Barack Obama was a little late this year and unable to keep his prestigious spot as the second speaker in the annual marathon of speeches. When Obama failed to show, the Swiss president of the General Assembly Joseph Deiss announced that the president of his homeland, Doris Leuthard, would take Obama’s place and give Switzerland’s address.

Deiss assured the delegations from the United Nations’ 192 members that this was not because the Swiss had ambitions of becoming a world power, but in order to keep things moving. Of course, Leuthard enjoyed a standing-room only audience at the assembly hall, a rare opportunity for the small but wealthy Alpine nation.

After Leuthard finished, Obama stepped up to the iconic dark green podium. Wearing a dark suit and a U.N.-blue tie, he paid homage to the 65-year world organization.

from Tales from the Trail:

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly referred to them as "veterans" of the Middle East peace process.

That description is probably one thing everyone can agree on. The process to bring Israelis and Palestinians to a lasting peace agreement has been going on for decades and every U.S. president hopes he's the one who will finally achieve what those before him tried and failed. PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL/