Obama: Weapons Ban 'Made Sense,' Tough to Reinstate

McDonough said the White House is working on a resolution with Congress and Mexico by which the United States would be in line with its obligations under NAFTA, but he would not say if there would be an announcement on this issue today.

Obama Likely to Be Most Popular Guy in the Room

This weekend Obama heads to the Summit of the Americas, a meeting of the 34 countries in the western hemisphere with democratically elected governments. The summit will take place in Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad and Tobago.

The only country in the hemisphere that will not be represented is Cuba, which does not have a democratically elected government and is not a member of the Organization of American States.

Just as he was in Europe, Obama is likely to be the most popular guy in the room. Latin America experts say expectations are high because it is the first time most of these leaders will be meeting Obama and his presidency marks a turning point from the Bush years.

The White House has not announced which leaders Obama will meet with one-on-one.

The global economic crisis will be a big part of the summit agenda, but leaders will also discuss related issues such as expanding renewable energy, reducing global warming, security and trade.

Obama administration officials say the president will address his support for "bottom up" economic development that helps the "poorest of the poor."

But analysts say the trip is really more about the beginning of a dialogue on regional issues and they don't expect anything concrete to develop.

Obama Arrives in 'Listening Mode,' Without an Open Checkbook

Mauricio Cardenas, director of the Latin America Initiative at the Brookings Institution, noted that Obama is there in "listening mode" -- because he is not coming with an open checkbook.

"There are things that Latin American leaders want to hear from the president of the United States," Cardenas said, pointing to the message that Obama took with him to Turkey last week. "They want to hear that there is no war on governments to the left or to the right of the spectrum and so long as countries hold democratic elections, Obama will have good relationships with leaders regardless of their ideology."

Abraham Lowenthal, professor of international relations at the University of Southern California and the co-editor of "The Obama Administration and the Americas: Agenda for Change" said Obama has "tremendous" appeal in the western hemisphere, but the summit may not produce any specific agreements.

"The general approach and image of the United States will be significantly transformed by this encounter, so I think this is something that's well worth the effort being put into it," Lowenthal said.

Far-Left Leaders Could Put Pressure on Obama

The Obama Administration tackled one large looming issue before taking off for the trip -- easing some travel and business restrictions relating to Cuba.

On Monday the White House announced that it will allow unlimited visits to family members on the island as well as unlimited remittances -- the cash recent immigrants to the United States send to relatives back home. President Bush imposed stricter restrictions on both in 2004.

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