Thursday, March 03, 2011

Today: Obama Lunches With Mexico's Calderón

Presidents will hash out tense partnership issues as their wives visit a DC elementary school...
President Obama
will welcome Mexican President Felipe Calderón to the White House today for their fifth face-to-face meeting in the last two years. It's their first meeting since last May, when President Obama honored his south of the border counterpart with a State Dinner.

The two Presidents will lunch privately in the Old Family Dining Room at 1:35 PM, after a one-on-one meeting, an expanded bilateral meeting that includes Vice President Joe Biden, and a joint press conference. (Above: The Presidents at lunch last May with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mexico's Foreign Minister)

"The president is deeply committed to this strong partnership the United States has with Mexico," Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Feb. 23.

But the visit comes amidst rising tensions with Mexico, and trade, immigration, and drug violence are expected to be under discussion. Sixteen days ago, American immigration and customs enforcement agent Jaime Zapata was shot and killed on a Mexican provincial highway in the state of San Luis Potosi. His law enforcement partner, Victor Avila, Jr., was also shot but he survived.

"We admire the commitment and sacrifices of the Mexican people as they confront the criminal organizations that have brought so much violence to Mexico," Carney said.

First Lady Michelle Obama, meanwhile, will be with Mr. Calderón's wife, First Lady Margarita Zavala. They'll be visiting Oyster-Adams Bilingual Elementary School to read to students, as part of the celebration of the National Education Association’s Read Across America efforts. The pre-k-8 school is a dual-immersion program and conducts academic instruction and school activities in both Spanish and English. The two First Ladies visited a school in Maryland the last time the Mexican presidential couple were at the White House, and did calisthenics with the students before sharing a family-style lunch with pre-schoolers. (Above: The two First Ladies during the State Visit)

On Wednesday, Mrs. Obama gave a rousing dramatic reading of "Green Eggs and Ham" to hundreds of students at the Library of Congress, to kick off Read Across America.

*Photos by Pete Souza/White House