The Washington Times - June 3, 2009, 03:36PM

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA - President Obama tomorrow will deliver one of the most anticipated - and lengthy - speeches of his political career.


Aides told us reporters traveling abroad with POTUS that the speech tomorrow in Cairo will last between 40 and 45 minutes. They also announced an unprecedented social networking blitz to get the speech out to Islam but also to, in their words, “engage” about what Obama is saying.


The first step came this afternoon (evening in this part of the world) with a Tweet from the White House pointing to a Facebook group where people can sign up to talk about the speech and get more info.


That nifty new logo in White House signature blue (the budget book had same color and font) appears on the Facebook page.


It also notes the event will be livestreamed at about 6 a.m. from


It’s been a whirlwind day we’ve spent mostly at the filing center in Saudi Arabia, where the high temperature was 110 degrees. We leave tonight at about 2 a.m. local on the press charter.



That’s the few from my room here at the Marriott, where we’ve stayed while the president has met privately with King Abdullah at King’s Farm, a royal family version of the Camp David presidential retreat.


After brief remarks to reporters, Obama closed his remarks with “Shoukran,” the Arabic word for “thank you.”


But the White House also had to deal with a new problem today, Osama bin Laden’s latest.


Here’s my story:


RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA — As President Obama arrived here Wednesday for meetings with the Saudi royal family, a tape of Osama bin Laden surfaced to offer a reminder of the high-stakes agenda Mr. Obama is pursuing on his trip abroad — Middle East peace and regional cooperation with a goal of renewed international goodwill for the United States.

Shortly after the new president was greeted by King Abdullah upon his landing, the Sept. 11 mastermind and al Qaeda leader issued a tape criticizing Mr. Obama, who aims to reach out to the Muslim world during his trip.

As the Associated Press reported existence of the tape, which published reports say accuses Mr. Obama of continuing former President George W. Bush’s policy, Mr. Obama was at King’s Farm for a series of meetings with the king and royal leadership.


Read the full story here.


I’ve been Tweeting all about the adventure (and the food) using hashtag #preztrip, so follow me there!



— Christina Bellantoni, White House correspondent, 
The Washington Times

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