Obama delays Australian trip till June

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Washington, Mar. 19 (ANI): U.S. President Barack Obama has cancelled his upcoming trip to Australia in order to garner support for the healthcare bill - the centrepiece of his domestic policies.

After insisting for the entire week that Obama's would go ahead to Australia as planned on March 21, White House officials on Friday announced the trip would be delayed until June.

"So it just at that point seemed obvious to us that the best course of business was to reschedule Indonesia and Australia for June," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

A mid-year visit is likely to coincide with his daughters' summer break, putting an Obama family holiday back on the agenda, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Obama had originally planned to bring his wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia on the trip to Asia.

But when administration officials realised they lacked congressional support for the important healthcare vote, they pushed back his trip three days and decided the President would travel alone.

Now, Democrats believe that Obama shouldn't leaving America at all during such a critical stage for his signature initiative.

Succumbing to that pressure, Obama today decided to stay in Washington until well after the vote, which will likely happen Sunday afternoon.

"Passage of healthcare reform is of paramount importance and the President is determined to see this battle through. The President believes right now the place for him to be is in Washington to see this through," Gibbs said.

Obama called Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd this morning to explain his delay. (ANI)

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