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« NY-20: Obama Endorses Murphy | Blog Home Page | Ain't Nothin' But A Family Thing »

An End To The "War On Terror"? OMB Says No

UPDATE: Press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked about this at today's press briefing, saying there is "no language I know [of], certainly that I've seen or that has been passed around."

He added, though, that President Obama is less concerned with "the phraseology" than he is about the "steps that he's taken and that we need to take as a country to protect our citizens."

EARLIER: The Washington Post reported online yesterday that "speechwriters and other staff were notified" via e-mail that the Obama administration "prefers to avoid using the term 'Long War' or 'Global War on Terror,'" and said that the Office of Management and Budget wanted to use the phrase "Overseas Contingency Operation."

OMB Director Peter Orszag was asked about this during a conference call this morning to discuss the administration's ongoing budget negotiations with Capitol Hill; he denied that there was a coordinated administration directive on the phrase.

"I am not aware of any communication that I've had on that topic," said Orszag, who said he had read the report. OMB spokesperson Kenny Baer then jumped in to say that the memo was written "by a career, mid-level civil servant," and that "there was no official memo or guidance given out by OMB."

The term "war on terror" has been the source of some controversy, and Obama has avoided using it in his public statements. Press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked on January 23 whether the administration would still use that term, and he said only: "I would point you to the words that the President said in his inaugural address about the challenges that we face." A day earlier, Gibbs said he was not aware of any decision to drop the "war" branding.

Obama spoke about terrorism yesterday during his meeting with the Australian Prime Minister, saying that the "threat of terrorist attacks from al Qaeda and their affiliates is not a threat that's going away."

"It's important for us to stay on the offensive and to dismantle these terrorist organizations wherever they are," he said. But later he added that "we will not just solve these problems militarily, but we're also going to have to be much more effective diplomatically; we're going to have to be much more effective on the development front."