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“The attacks of the last two weeks are not simply an assault on America. They are also an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded,” Obama will tell the assembled world leaders.
This eruption of violence has confronted Obama with the worst setback yet in his efforts to keep the Arab Spring revolutions from turning against the United States - and has demonstrated that he has few easy options.
In his speech, he has the delicate task of articulating U.S. distaste for insults to any religion while at the same time insisting there is no excuse for a violent reaction - a distinction rejected by many Muslims.
The crisis has exposed a deep divide over the issues of free speech and blasphemy at a time when Islamist forces are in the political ascendant in the Middle East after several veteran dictators were ousted.
“Today, we must declare that this violence and intolerance has no place among our United Nations,” Obama will say.
Obama is not expected to offer detailed solutions to an array of crises that threaten to chip away at a foreign policy record that his aides hoped would be immune from Republican attack.
ELECTION THE PRIORITY
With campaign pressures building in a close race, Obama’s final turn on the world stage before facing voters has left little doubt about his immediate priorities.
He skipped the customary one-on-one meetings with foreign counterparts but went ahead with the taping of a campaign-style appearance on the popular television talk-show “The View” - a trade-off that drew Republican criticism.
Obama planned to be in and out of New York in 24 hours and off to the election battleground state of Ohio on Wednesday.
Despite Obama’s international woes, administration officials are heartened by Romney’s own recent foreign policy stumbles and doubt that the president’s critics will gain traction in a campaign that remains focused mainly on the U.S. economy.