I’m in New York City for President Obama’s trip to the United Nations. This is the second year in a row I’ve come here for the annual General Assembly.
Obama has a busy day. He’s speaking at a meeting on climate change hosted by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, then meeting with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders one on one and then together in an effort to move things toward restarting peace talks.
The president hosts a lunch with African heads of state, and then meets in mid-afternoon with Chinese President Hu Jintao. Obama speaks after that to former President Bill Clinton’s Clinton Global Initiative, and then attends a dinner at the U.N. hosted by the secretary general.
One of the peripheral phenomena surrounding this event is the total invasion of Manhattan by entourages of politicians, diplomats and security personnel from around the world, all added to by multiple layers of uniformed and plain clothes New York security.
The lobby of the Waldorf-Astoria, where Obama is staying, is an endless stream of people in suits with different pins on their lapels. But the more striking visual is out on the streets surrounding this hotel and the other hotels where heads of state and dignitaries are staying. The SUVs are endless; at night it seems there is a motorcade passing by every few minutes, no matter where you are.
— Jon Ward, White House reporter, The Washington Times