Realism Weighs on Obama Mideast Peace Efforts

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Obama met privately last week with a handful of Jewish leaders, reportedly telling them he would not travel to Israel with a "grand peace plan" to offer.

It appears that in the near term -- during this trip, at least -- Obama isn't looking for a sudden leap forward on peace talks. The White House denied a report in Israeli news outlet Yediot Aharonot that the president plans to offer a deal in the next six months, barring progress between the two sides.

But Obama will never again run for office. If he believes that the best path to jumpstarting peace talks involves creating a domestic political mess, then that messiness would no longer endanger his job, and it would no longer outweigh the benefit to his legacy of making progress toward a deal.

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