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President Obama wants to revive the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, but Israel's new government may not go along. That's if predictions about tomorrow's elections turn out to be true. We hear about the mood of the people, what the candidates are saying and what the results might mean for the Middle East and American policy. Also, Obama's stimulus plan and Republican opposition to it. Is it driving a wedge between a popular new president and his colleagues in Congress?

Banner image: Secret Service bodyguards escort ultra-nationalist Israeli politician Avigdor Lieberman, who heads of the right-wing Yisrael Beitinu party, away from the Western Wall after he prayed at Judaism's holiest site. Photo: David Silverman/Getty Images

Making News 20 Days in, Obama’s on the Road Again 6 MIN, 6 SEC

Plans for unveiling a new Wall Street bailout are on hold until tomorrow, so that President Obama can pitch his stimulus package to the American heartland. Speaking today in Elhart, Indiana, a place with high unemployment, the President cautioned against “the same failed ideas that got us into this mess in the first place…The American people rejected those ideas because they hadn’t worked.” Tonight at 8pm Eastern, the President will hold a prime-time news conference.  Tomorrow he goes to Florida. Jeff Zeleny reports for the New York Times

Jeff Zeleny, New York Times (@jeffzeleny)

Main Topic Israelis Head to the Polls as Nation Drifts Right 34 MIN, 54 SEC

One of President Obama’s top foreign policy goals is a settlement in the Middle East and a Palestinian nation. But, will Israel go along? After Gaza, Israelis reportedly feel more threatened than ever, by rocket fire from Hamas and Hezbollah and by nuclear development in Iran. Recent polls indicate that tomorrow’s election in Israel will be close. All three “mainstream” candidates are talking tough – and moving to the right. Front-runner Benjamin Netanyahu is opposed to trading occupied land for peace, but the likely kingmaker in forming a new government is a nationalist who’s compared by the left to Mussolini and Stalin. That could mean trouble for what President Obama goal of negotiations leading to a Palestinian state. Does the peace process still have a chance? Is Israel likely to strike Iran?

Griff Witte, Washington Post (@griffwitte)
Gideon Levy, Columnist, Ha'aretz
Benny Morris, Professor of Middle East History, Ben-Gurion University
Roger Cohen, Columnist for the New York Times; Foreign editor for three years (@NYTimesCohen)

Reporter's Notebook Republicans Find Their Voice in Opposition 7 MIN, 40 SEC

With his stimulus package in trouble, President Obama hit the campaign trail today, and will keep up the pressure tomorrow. But despite his overwhelming popularity, Republicans have done as much as he has to frame the issues. What are they gaining by saying “no?” After November’s political drubbing, Republicans were looking at much more than just a winter of discontent.  But Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin says, “We’re so far ahead of where we thought we’d be at this time.” That’s according to today’s Washington Post, in a story by Alec MacGillis.

Alec MacGillis, ProPublica (@AlecMacGillis)


Warren Olney

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