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Barack Obama confronted one of his toughest political challenges today with visits to Israel and the West Bank. We hear what he said and how both sides reacted. Also, the housing rescue bill moves through the pipeline, and Republican oil and gas magnate T. Boone Pickens is an unlikely hero to Democrats and environmentalists.  It's all about wind power.

Barack Obama observes some of the 600 photographs of victims of the Holocaust the Hall Of Names with Yad Vashem Chairman, Avner Shalez in Jerusalem. Photo: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

The Accidental Empire

Gershom Gorenberg

Making News House Rescue Bill Moves through the Pipeline 5 MIN, 55 SEC

Rescuing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could cost American taxpayers $25 billion, which has created new anxiety over the housing market. Today, Bush White House dropped its threat to veto legislation designed to bolster the housing market.  James Politi reports from Washington for the Financial Times.

James Politi, US Economics and Trade Correspondent, Financial Times

Main Topic Obama in Israel and the West Bank 33 MIN, 47 SEC

Barack Obama threaded his way through a minefield today, from Jerusalem's Holocaust memorial and Sderot, an Israeli town near the border with Gaza and a frequent target of Palestinian rocket fire, to Ramallah on the Palestinian West Bank. In Israel, John McCain is a known quantity and there's anxiety about what changes Obama might bring. Change is just what the Palestinians hope for.  The Democratic presidential hopeful reaffirmed the special relationship with Israel and promised to work toward a Palestinian state. Did he get the reactions his campaign was looking for?  What's the likely impact on American voters?

Kevin Peraino, Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Newsweek
Daoud Kuttab, Al Monitor (@daoudkuttab)
Ron Kampeas, Jewish Telegraphic Agency (@kampeas)
Gershom Gorenberg, Jerusalem-based historian and journalist
Larry Harris, Principal, Mason-Dixon Polling and Research

Reporter's Notebook Oil Man T. Boone Pickens Becomes a Wind Power Advocate 9 MIN, 8 SEC

T. Boone Pickens savaged John Kerry four years ago by financing the "swift boat" commercials that helped sink Kerry's presidential campaign. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has invited the life-long Republican to address the Democratic caucus tonight. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid calls him "my political friend." Pickens made a fortune in oil and gas, but he's become the unlikely champion of an alternative source of energy.  Juliet Eilperin is environmental reporter for the Washington  Post.

Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post national affairs correspondent (@eilperin)

Fight Club Politics

Juliet Eilperin

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