Just days before he was scheduled to leave on an Asia-Pacific trip that would bring him to Guam, Jakarta, Bali and Canberra – U.S. President Barack Obama postponed his travels on Thursday, March 18, 2010, until sometime June.
Obama's efforts to push a historic health bill through Congress, seen by many as the defining legacy of his first term as Chief Executive, are preventing him from traveling abroad at this time.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said: "We greatly regret the delay of the trip, (but) passage of health insurance reform is of paramount importance and the president is determined to see this battle through."
Shortly before announcing the decision to delay the trip, Obama telephoned the Indonesian President and Australian Prime Minister to explain the need to travel at a later date in order to allow his presence in Washington on Sunday afternoon when the vote on the Health Reform bill is expected to take place.
Prior to the announcement, Obama and his official entourage were expected in Bali on March 25th. In anticipation of that visit, U.S. Secret Service officers and their Indonesian counterparts have been in Bali busily preparing security measure for locations to be visited the U.S. President. Also in preparation for the visit, U.S. Air Force heavy-lift aircraft have landed in recent days in Bali bearing a helicopter and other equipment in support of the now-delayed presidential visit.
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