OBAMA NOTRE DAME

POSTED: Monday, May 18, 2009 - 7:33am

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 2:23pm

President Obama faces abortion controversy during commencement speech...

Today, President Obama meets with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. The two don't exactly see eye-to-eye on Mideast peace. It comes after the president, who supports abortion rights, waded into that controversy here at home.

President Obama promoted mutual respect in the abortion debate and he'll take a similar approach today to Mideast peace. In his view progress requires that Israel accept creation of a Palestinian state.

Aides to President Obama played down suggestions his meeting today with Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu could be tense.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said "I don't expect that the meeting will be quite as contentious as you might suggest."

Will Israel's hawkish prime minister shift and announce support for a Palestinian state?

President Obama will press it. He met with Palestinian leaders on their turf when he was a candidate. Netanyahu may also raise his concerns over U.S. outreach to Syria and Iran.

This weekend it was another flashpoint, abortion, that President Obama addressed directly in his commencement speech at Notre Dame.

President Obama said "I do not suggest that the debate surrounding abortion can or should go away."

There were occasional disruptions in the stadium and silent statements among some students, but mostly applause.

The president acknowledged the lack of middle ground.

President Obama said "no matter how much we may want to fudge it, the fact is that at some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable."

The president focused on openings for agreement.

President Obama said "let's work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies, let's make adoption more available."

Dozens of U.S. bishops criticized Notre Dame's decision to invite the president to speak.

They opposed awarding him with an honorary degree though students applauded loudly.

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