President Obama Goes South of the Border

By Jaketapper

Aug 9, 2009 8:20pm

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — As the leaders of the United States, Mexico and Canada gathered this evening, they were to talk about normal summit issues such as climate change and economic recovery — including resolving a tariff dispute centered on the issue of Mexican trucking in the United States.

As President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon flew to Guadelajara, Mexico, first and foremost on their agenda were preparations for flu season and the H1N1 "swine" flu — the outbreak of which started in Mexico.

White House homeland security czar John Brennan said it is crucial to collaborate with Mexico and Canada on vaccine development and distribution, and ways to communicate with populations on how to best prevent the spread of the illness.

"I think everybody recognizes that H1N1 is going to be a challenge for all of us," Brennan said Friday, "and there are people who are going to be getting sick in the fall and die."

Another life-and-death issue on the table is President Calderon's war against Mexican drug cartels, which only appear to be getting stronger.

Drug-related deaths in Mexico since Calderon became president in December 2006 passed 12,000 this month. Despite some human rights groups' criticisms of Mexican army behavior, President Obama stands firmly with Calderon as the cartels have increasingly branched out into the United States.

"We have responsibilities to reduce the trafficking of guns into the South that help strengthen these cartels, and the flows of money and money laundering," Obama said June 29.

More on the president's trip South of the border HERE.

-jpt

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