There is a lot of news coming from both sides of the border in advance of Obama's visit here:
- The US named 3 cartels drug kingpins - easing the way to take their money.
- The US named a new border czar.
- The US is pledging more cooperation and calls President Calderon - heroic & courageous.
- Mexico says violence is down on the border 26% in 2009.
- Mexico uncovered a huge and dangerous weapons cache two days before the visit.
- The Mayor of Ciudad Juarez agrees to have a newly trained police force up and running by year's end.
- Mexico's President Felipe Calderon & his US Ambassador diplomatically but firmly push the US to reinstate the assault weapons ban.
They're all attention grabbing. They all seem to go in the right direction towards slowing the violence, but what's left to do today?
A large and very international press contingent has converged on Mexico City for this meeting. There are hundreds - if not more - US government employees here to make sure it goes well. In the end the two Presidents will be together for about 90 minutes.
And while this meeting is light on time - it is heavy on symbolism. In choosing to hold this meeting in Mexico City, the Obama White House says it is sending a clear signal of respect and admiration for what Felipe Calderon is doing. President Bush visited Mexico - most recently then-President Vicente Fox's ranch. He never came to Mexico City.
The events are highly choreographed today. In order to avoid making nightmarish traffic here in Mexico City even worse and avoid what is clearly a security challenge - Obama is flying from the airport to a military base nearby and then taking a short drive to Los Pinos, the Mexican White House.
There will be a brief welcoming ceremony and troop review and then a 90 minute meeting between the two Presidents. Afterwards a press conference with the two men is expected to have 4 total questions - two from Mexican media - 2 from US reporters - all of them pre-selected. Not exactly expansive, but again don't let the brief time get in the way of the symbolism here.
The US is clearly accepting a role in solving this crisis. Every article on the meeting this morning talks about shared responsibility. It plays well here in Mexico - we'll see what happens at home.