KASU

Ari Shapiro

President Obama flies to Honolulu on Friday to begin the third Asia trip of his presidency. He'll visit Hawaii, Australia and Indonesia in a nine-day trip that's meant to reaffirm a fundamental shift in America's foreign policy.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has described this reorientation as "America's Pacific Century."

Herman Cain and Mitt Romney, the two current front-runners in the Republican presidential race, spoke in Washington on Friday at a conference for the conservative group Americans for Prosperity.

Their speeches came as a new Washington Post-ABC poll found they're running almost even among Republican voters. And on Friday, the two candidates underscored the differences in their appeal to activists.

In the coming months, the Obama administration will decide whether to approve the Keystone pipeline, which would carry tar sands oil from Canada through the U.S. down to the Gulf of Mexico.

Environmental advocates will try to encircle the White House on Sunday in a show of solidarity against the project. Steady protests have made this one of the most high-profile environmental decisions of the Obama presidency.

White House spokesman Jay Carney often tries to distance the president from the decision-making process over the pipeline.

U.S. stocks had one of their best days in weeks Thursday: The Dow jumped nearly 3 percent and prices in Europe went through the roof. The surge came after the announcement that European leaders finally agreed on a comprehensive plan to tackle their debt problems. Does the rally mean investors think the crisis is over?

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Turnout was huge in Tunisia's first democratic election, with almost 90 percent of the population casting their votes. The official results will be announced this afternoon in the capital, Tunis, but there are already signs that the moderate Muslim party has done very well. Eleanor Beardsley joins us from Tunis.

Good morning, Eleanor.

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: Good morning, Ari.

SHAPIRO: Tell us about this party that seems to be in the lead.

Over the last few years, during factory tours across the country, Obama has driven an electric vehicle and coerced a New York Times reporter aboard a high-tech scooter.

So it was a safe bet that when he and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak found a brand new subcompact Chevy Sonic car on their tour of a General Motors plant, the two world leaders would climb in.

President Obama had a rare bipartisan economic success this week when Congress passed three trade deals.

Obama is going to Detroit on Friday with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to take a victory lap. But some important parts of Obama's base are not fans of these deals — with South Korea, Panama and Colombia — which could have political consequences for the president.

Friday's event is at a General Motors plant. The auto industry and its workers are big fans of the free-trade deal with South Korea, so they're sure to give the world leaders a warm welcome.

Ever since President Obama proposed his $447 billion jobs bill in a joint address to Congress last month, he has been campaigning for it nonstop. He has whipped up crowds all across America who chant: "Pass this bill!"

It contains a variety of measures to fight unemployment — everything from tax breaks for businesses to extended benefits for the jobless. But despite the campaigning, the Senate is expected to kill the proposal Tuesday on a procedural vote.

Jonathan Cowan of the centrist Democratic group Third Way says that's no big deal — it was always a long shot.

There is a tradition of Republican presidential candidates laying out their foreign-policy views at The Citadel.

John McCain did it four years ago; George W. Bush did it eight years before that. On Friday, it was Mitt Romney's turn to speak at the South Carolina military academy.

First in a series

In the late 1970s, recently out of Harvard Business School, Mitt Romney went to work for the Boston consulting firm Bain & Co. He was successful, but he says his dream was always to run his own business.

In 1984, he got the chance.

The firm's founder asked Romney to start an investment fund called Bain Capital. The company would put money into small or struggling businesses, help them grow, and then Bain would cash out.

President Obama continued his tour in support of his jobs bill Thursday. The latest stop: Cincinnati, at the base of the double-decker Brent Spence Bridge.

The bridge sits on one of the busiest trucking routes in the country, and it's considered functionally obsolete.

Gerardo Claudio lives in Augusta, Ga., and works all over the U.S. He spends about three weeks on the road every month, which gives him a good look at the nation's infrastructure.

"The roads are in real, real awful condition, should I say," says Claudio, who was in Cincinnati on Thursday.

Palestinians say they still plan to seek recognition of their statehood from the U.N. Security Council this week, throwing more than a wrench into the diplomatic works for the Obama administration.

President Obama has promised to veto the move in the Security Council. That puts the U.S. on sound footing with Israel, but on a collision course with European and Middle Eastern allies who support the Palestinians' bid.

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