TPMDC Morning Roundup

Obama Tells Turkey: U.S. Not At War With Islam
Speaking to the Turkish Parliament today, President Obama said: “Let me say this as clearly as I can: the United States is not at war with Islam. In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical in rolling back a fringe ideology that people of all faiths reject.”

Obama’s Day In Turkey
President Obama is in Ankara, Turkey, today. At 3:50 a.m. ET, he laid a wreath at Ataturk’s Tomb. At 4:55 a.m. ET he met with President Gul, and the two made a statement to the press at 6:56 a.m. ET. At 8:30 a.m. ET he addressed the Turkish Grand National Assembly. At 9:25 a.m. ET he will meet with Prime Minister Erdogan. At 11:10 a.m. ET he will leave Ankara for Istanbul, arriving at 12:10 p.m. ET.Biden Throwing Out First Pitch At Orioles Game
Vice President Biden is in Baltimore today, where he will throw out the first pitch at the Orioles Opening Day at Camden Yards. Biden will be accompanied at the mound by eight boys and girls from the Baltimore Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities League.

Gates To Announce Shifts In Defense Spending
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is set to roll out today a major shift in proposed Defense spending, restructuring expenditures from conventional warfare to modern needs. “This is a fundamental shift in direction,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told CQ. “And the secretary’s point of view argues for an unconventional approach in explaining that shift to the American people.”

Poll: Outreach To Muslims Important — But Opinion Of Islam Is Low
A new ABC/Washington Post poll finds that 81% of Americans say it is important for President Obama to improve U.S. relations with Muslim nations. At the same time, only 41% have a favorable opinion of Islam, compared to a 48% plurality with an unfavorable opinion.

NYT: Time Is Short As U.S. Presses Pakistan
The New York Times reports that President Obama faces obstacles in enlisting the further help of Pakistan against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, due to the country’s own preoccupation with India and a lack of further patience with America. Said Lt. Gen. Javed Ashraf: “Pakistan is an ally. But then you say we are linked with the Taliban. The serving army people will say, ‘To hell with them if this is what we are going to get after laying down more than 1,500 lives.”

WaPo: Organizing For America “Sputters” In First Effort
The Washington Post examines the recent activism by Organizing For America, the Obama activist group created from his presidential campaign, finding that its recent push for signatures in favor of the budget plan was a bust at only 214,000 signatures and no influence on Congress. OFA spokeswoman Natalie Wyeth said the group was a “work in progress” and the process is ongoing: “This is still a very new project, a new effort, and we’re learning as we go.”