Despite several key areas of disagreement, President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were collegial during a press conference in the White House’s East Room Tuesday. They papered over disagreements over NATO involvement in Libya—Germany abstained from a U.N. resolution authorizing intervention—by spotlighting agreement on the need for Muammar Gaddafi to exit. Both also faced questions about the world debt crisis, both in relation to U.S. policy and in Europe, where Germany faces a delicate balancing act in trying to save the euro by stabilizing Greece and other struggling economies. Later on Tuesday, Obama will present Merkel with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, after she was unable to attend the February ceremony when other recipients received theirs.
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