White House aides, who have been getting an earful for the past few days about the president’s light schedule, sought to focus attention on Mr. Obama’s speech on Tuesday. Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, told reporters that Mr. Obama would address anti-American protests that have been unfolding in the Arab world.

“I would expect the president to address the recent unrest in the Muslim world and the broader context of the democratic transitions of the Arab world,” Mr. Carney said.

He added that the speech would also give Mr. Obama another opportunity “to underscore that Iran must not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon.”

Mr. Obama was scheduled to attend a reception for world leaders at the United Nations on Monday night. But a campaign adviser acknowledged privately that in this election year, campaigning trumped meetings with world leaders. “Look, if he met with one leader, he would have to meet with 10,” the aide said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

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