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Official: Bin Laden death offers 'new narrative' ahead of Obama speech

By Dan Lothian, CNN White House Correspondent
President Obama's speech on the Mideast is expected to deal with regional flashpoints.
President Obama's speech on the Mideast is expected to deal with regional flashpoints.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Middle East talk could happen before May 22 trip, official says
  • It's likely to say regional protests represent al Qaeda rejection, official says
  • Audience for speech is broader than Arab world

Washington (CNN) -- The speech President Barack Obama plans to deliver on his Middle East policy has not yet been written, said a senior administration official, but "it will likely reference" the death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of U.S. Navy SEALs.

When asked if the long-planned speech had now taken on greater significance, the official acknowledged that getting bin Laden did offer "a new al Qaeda narrative."

Another senior administration official said the president is likely to make the point that "popular movements in the region demanding greater freedom and opportunity represent a thorough rejection of the message of al-Qaeda and bin Laden."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the first to make mention of the speech last month. At Wednesday's press briefing, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president would deliver the speech "in the relatively near future."

Another top aide told CNN "it could happen before the Europe trip."

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Obama is scheduled to depart May 22 on a six-day trip to Poland, Ireland, England and France.

Unlike his Cairo speech in June 2009 that focused on winning the hearts and minds of the Muslim world, this one is expected to deal with regional flashpoints -- from the anti-government uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"I think it's a speech to a broader audience than just the Arab world," Carney said.

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