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Published: Thursday, 11/13/2008

Obama goal: Search for bin Laden to become intensified


WASHINGTON - President-elect Barack Obama intends to renew the U.S. commitment to the hunt for Osama bin Laden, a priority the president-elect believes President Bush has played down after years of failing to apprehend the al-Qaeda leader.

Mr. Obama, advisers said, plans to intensify the U.S. military and intelligence focus on al-Qaeda and bin Laden. Intelligence officials say the search is already as intensive as ever, even as they emphasize that the decentralized al-Qaeda network would remain a threat without bin Laden.

Bush Administration officials have publicly played down the importance of a single individual in their anti-terrorism offensive.

Critical of Mr. Bush during the campaign for what he said was the President's extreme focus on Iraq at the expense of Afghanistan, Mr. Obama also intends to move ahead with a planned deployment of thousands of additional U.S. troops there.

Also yesterday, it was announced that a memorial service for Mr. Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Payne Dunham, will be held tomorrow at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

The Borthwick Mortuary said the service will be open to the public, but the Obama family will not be in attendance.

The president-elect is scheduled to visit Hawaii in December to honor his grandmother, who helped raise him in Honolulu and died two nights before the election.

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