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Obama agenda: Boston impact

AP’s Pace: “For President Barack Obama, one of his most wrenching White House weeks saw the fresh specter of terrorism and the first crushing political defeat of his new term, and the more emotional side of a leader often criticized for appearing clinical or detached. The events presented sharp tests for a president committed to an ambitious agenda in the limited window offered by a second term.”

AP: “Gay-rights activists generally feel Obama has kept his pledge from December 2008 to be a ‘fierce advocate’ for their causes by supporting gay marriage and enabling gays to serve openly in the armed forces. Their remaining issues with Obama have dwindled to only a few. They'd hoped for selection of the first openly gay Cabinet member and they've been urging Obama to issue an executive order barring federal contractors from anti-gay discrimination in the workplace. Republicans, meanwhile, seem increasingly divided and uncertain in regard to the marriage debate.”

National Journal: “What has become increasingly apparent is that no matter what the brothers’ motives were, President Obama, Congress, and law-enforcement officials won’t find any easy answers to prevent attacks by terrorists who appear to be isolated and acting alone.”

Jill Lawrence points to three areas are cropping up on the politics – immigration, whether the FBI did everything it could have, should have, or was legally able to, and whether the bombing suspect should be treated as in the American justice system or as an enemy combatant.

The Hill: “A number of lawmakers are going after the FBI, questioning if the agency failed to notice red flags surrounding one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.”

Rep. Peter King on FOX: "I have great regard for the FBI and for Director [Robert] Mueller, but this is the latest in a series of cases like this … where the FBI is given information about someone as being potential terrorists, they look at them, and then they don't take action.”

There are also quotes from Mike McCaul, Chuck Schumer, and then Lindsey Graham wondered if the rules should be different.

Politico notes that it will also likely spark debate over surveillance.

The Hill similarly: “The role street cameras played in catching the alleged Boston Marathon bombers is stoking debate about how much more, or less, privacy should be sacrificed for security against terrorists.”

And if that’s not enough, here’s an item on guns: Reuters: “The two brothers suspected in the Boston Marathon bombings, who police say engaged in a gun battle with officers early Friday after a frenzied manhunt, were not licensed to own guns in the towns where they lived, authorities said on Sunday.”

National Journal notes that racial profiling’s not always what it seems: the actual bombing suspects … are ethnic Chechens who have lived in the United States for a decade. Their roots are tied to the Caucasus region — quite literally, they are Caucasian.”

Maureen Dowd’s not happy with Obama: “How is it that the president won the argument on gun safety with the public and lost the vote in the Senate? It’s because he doesn’t know how to work the system. And it’s clear now that he doesn’t want to learn, or to even hire some clever people who can tell him how to do it or do it for him.”

(Or it could be plain numbers, that anything requires 60 votes in the Senate, members who don’t want to take a risk in red states -- it’s not 90% of people supporting gun legislation in those states, and the gun lobby’s continued strength.)

It’s Science Fair day at the White House.

“More than $18 million raised for President Obama's second inauguration came from corporations, unions and other special-interest groups, according to newly filed disclosure reports,” USA Today writes. “Those donations made up more than 40% of the total collected by the Presidential Inaugural Committee. In all, the committee reported net contributions of $43.2 million. That's $10 million less than organizers raised for Obama's first inauguration in 2009.”

The Bush legacy… As George W. Bush’s presidential library opens Thursday, USA Today interviewed him: "I'm happy to be out of the limelight. I truly am,” he said, adding, “My life is obviously much simpler than it was in the past, but in many ways the simplicity creates contentment.” And he says he’s "thrilled that baseball season is here. I think part of having a fulfilling life is to be challenged. I'm challenged on the golf course, I'm challenged to stay fit, and I'm challenged by my paintings. I am happy.”

He said he follows the news and gossip, but doesn’t watch much TV and he still talks politics with Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice, and Stephen Hadley. More: “One of his closest friends, Don Evans, who served as Commerce secretary, says Bush is ‘immersed’ in golf and his new painting hobby and is ‘fired up’ about being a first-time grandfather. ‘He feels totally at peace’ with decisions he made during his presidency, Evans says, and believes leaders must pursue policies based on the nation's ‘long-term interests ... not what's popular today.’”

Another USA Today table-setting piece with more from Bush: “Former president George W. Bush says his new presidential library is ‘a place to lay out facts,’ not a forum to explain policies such as the war with Iraq or his administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath. ‘There's no need to defend myself,’ Bush said in a phone interview with USA Today. ‘I did what I did and ultimately history will judge.’”

Liz Sidoti: “On June 12, 1999, George W. Bush began his White House quest with this comment at to a barbecue-going crowd in Iowa: ‘This country is hungry for a new style of campaign ... a campaign that unites all Americans toward a better tomorrow.’ ‘I’m a uniter, not a divider,’ the Texas Republican said throughout that campaign, pitching himself as a ‘compassionate conservative’ with a broad domestic policy agenda. A decade later, Bush left office with a reputation, deserved or not, as one of the most polarizing presidents of our time. Now, four years after he left the White House, it’s worth taking another look at Bush as his presidential library opens in Texas this week.”