The First Draft: Return from Dover
President Barack Obama returned in the early hours from a trip to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware where he saluted the flag-draped caskets of 18 soldiers and Drug Enforcement Administration agents killed in Afghanistan this week.
Journalists were allowed to see the transfer of the last casket. Reuters correspondent Ross Colvin was there and reports that it was cold and blustery as Obama stood at attention and saluted as six soldiers carried the casket, bearing the body of Sergeant Dale Griffin of Indiana, off the plane and onto a waiting van.
With at least 53 killed, October has been the deadliest month for U.S. forces in Afghanistan and public opinion polls show increasing weariness of the war.
Obama is still mulling a new U.S. strategy on Afghanistan and whether to send more American troops as General Stanley McChrystal has requested.
Back in Washington the other major issues continue to bubble. The House of Representatives unveiled healthcare reform legislation that Democrats say will reduce the budget deficit by $30 billion over the first 10 years. It includes a public option.
This is another step toward the ultimate negotiations between the House and Senate that must take place to resolve differences between their separate, and currently different, healthcare bills.
And big economic news out today. The U.S. economy grew in the third quarter for the first time in a year, unofficially ending the worst recession in 70 years. Third-quarter gross domestic product grew at a 3.5 percent annual rate.
Is the economy out of the woods?
Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Obama salutes as casket of soldier killed in Afghanistan is transferred at Dover Air Force Base)