Unemployment hits 9.4 percent. President Obama flies to France.
Joblessness reaches 9.7 percent. Obama jets off to Denmark.
The rate of those out of work soars to 10.2 percent. Obama packs his bags for Japan, Singapore, China and South Korea.
Faced with the worst domestic economy in decades, the president has responded — by setting a record for foreign travel. An Asian swing that began Thursday will bring his total this year to 20 countries in eight trips, according to CBS News’s Mark Knoller, official statistician of the White House press corps.
That easily bests the previous record-holder, George H.W. Bush, who hit 14 countries in his first year. By the time he returns next week, Obama will have spent more than 12 percent of his presidency overseas — and he still has another trip or two in the works for this year.
[Lots of stuff about how popular Obama is among foreigners, how the Republicans have not attacked Obama for his globe-trotting because it would remind people how unpopular George W. Bush was overseas, and how the foreign media has sucked up to him.]
As he prepared to leave the White House on Thursday morning, Obama first stopped to address the cameras in the Diplomatic Reception Room. “Before departing for Asia this morning, I’d like to make a brief statement about the economy,” he said, assuring Americans that he’ll “be meeting with leaders abroad to discuss a strategy for growth” and to make sure “Asian and Pacific markets are open to our exports.”
Nineteen minutes later, Marine One and the peripatetic president were airborne again.
Four hours after that, Obama was safely over Canada when his Treasury Department announced another record monthly budget deficit.