The PJ Tatler

Obama Shortens Asia Trip, Calls Leaders to Share Shutdown Woes

President Obama is canceling two stops on his planned trip to Asia and calling leaders to tell them he’s hampered by the government shutdown.

Obama was scheduled to leave Saturday for a trip to Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines.

In the wee hours of the morning the White House released readouts from two calls:

Last night, President Obama called President Aquino of the Philippines to inform him that, due to the government shutdown, he will not be able to go forward with his planned travel to the Philippines. The President reaffirmed our strong alliance with the Philippines and respect for President Aquino’s leadership, and committed to travel to the Philippines later in his term. He also noted our shared commitment to the security of the Philippines, and the broader security and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region, and told the President that Secretary Kerry would travel to Manila in his place. He also noted the deep ties between our peoples, including so many Filipino-Americans who have enriched our country.

Last night, President Obama called Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia to inform him that, due to the government shutdown, he will not be able to go forward with his planned travel to Malaysia. The President reaffirmed the close partnership that he has forged with Malaysia and respect for Prime Minister Najib’s leadership, and committed to travel to Malaysia later in his term. He also welcomed Malaysia’s strong leadership of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, and conveyed to the Prime Minister that Secretary of State Kerry would lead a U.S. delegation to Kuala Lumpur, including Secretary of Commerce Pritzker and U.S. Trade Representative Froman. Prime Minister Najib expressed his understanding and said that he looked forward to welcoming the President to Malaysia in the near future.

Today Obama meets in the Oval Office with members of the Financial Services Forum. “The meeting will address a broad array of economic issues, including the need for Congress to act to pay its bills and raise the debt ceiling and avoid disastrous impacts on our economy,” the White House said.

He also meets privately with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

Obama’s leaving it up to Vice President Joe Biden to meet with visiting Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who might have some sage economic advice for the president on how to avoid becoming Greece.