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Japan. Libya. The deficit. Did Obama have time to go on ESPN?

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Japan's nuclear crisis: A timeline of key events

“The job can wait: Obama has better things to do,” blared the headline on a release Thursday morning from the National Republican Congressional Committee. “President chooses to do nothing to solve deficit problem or world crises as reelection and foreign travel beckon.”

Obama’s schedule for Thursday was hardly better, in the eyes of Republicans. He took part in several St. Patrick’s Day events, including a meeting with the Irish prime minister in the Oval Office. And while he did make an unannounced visit to the Japanese Embassy to sign the condolence book and was scheduled to make a statement on Japan later in the afternoon, he stuck with his plan to travel south on Friday.

Every day this week, White House spokesman Jay Carney has faced questions from reporters about Obama’s insistence that he stay on plan and go to South and Central America, where the US has important economic relationships. He reminds the press that, as president, Obama travels with a large staff and has a sophisticated communications setup.

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