WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama has overcome an embarrassing defeat on trade and maneuvered his way back to a rare victory under a Republican-controlled Congress.
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In so doing Obama salvaged a key piece of his second-term legacy with the extraordinary help of the very Republican leaders he once accused of obstruction.
The Senate voted 60-38 on Wednesday to strengthen Obama's trade negotiating position. That sets the stage for a 12-nation Pacific rim trade pact crucial to Obama's goal of expanding U.S. influence in Asia. The House narrowly passed the legislation last week.
That Republicans agreed to give such authority to a president they believe has already exceeded his powers was as remarkable as Obama's decision to push his trade agenda against all-out opposition from labor and his party's liberal base.