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Mexican President Visits the White House

Aired May 19, 2010 - 09:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, good morning, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in for Kyra Phillips this morning. We got a lot on tap today.

Americans are waking up and expressing their anger and they're expressing that they want a change in politics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY SENATE NOMINEE: I have a message, a message from the Tea Party, a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words. We've come to take our government back.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: For months they rallied against Washington and railed against big government, and now voters show they mean it. Three states, one message to Washington -- get ready for change or get out.

Only a fraction of Americans actually voted if only -- in only, rather, a handful of states, but how they voted could affect all of us. A growing dissatisfaction puts Washington on notice and puts at least one incumbent in Pennsylvania out of work.

Let's begin with the basics, who won, who lost, and why all of us should even care.

CNN's chief political correspondent Candy Crowley breaks it all down for us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In politics, they don't come much tougher than 80-year-old Arlen Specter. But this hurt.

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (D), PENNSYLVANIA: It's -- been a great privilege to serve the people of Pennsylvania. And it's been a great privilege to be in the United States Senate.

CROWLEY: Specter was a Republican until a year ago. In a Democratic primary, it hung like an Anvil around his neck. So did his 30 years in the Senate, set aside for a congressman with four years in the House.

REP. JOE SESTAK (D), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE NOMINEE: A win for the people. Over the establishment, over the status quo, even over Washington.

CROWLEY: The year the anti-incumbent looked real, real enough for Blanche Lincoln, too. Running for her third term, the Democratic senator from Arkansas won but not by enough to avoid a runoff.

SEN. BLANCHE LINCOLN (D), ARKANSAS: Tonight we begin our countdown to victory, folks.

CROWLEY: There were no insiders in the Kentucky Republican race for senator, but there was Trey Grayson, endorsed by insiders. Grayson lost to Rand Paul, a Tea Party favorite.

PAUL: Washington is horribly broken. I think we stand on a precipice. We are encountering a day of reckoning, and this movement, this Tea Party Movement, is a message to Washington that we're unhappy and that we want things done differently.

CROWLEY: Still, for all the headlines of the night, perhaps the most telling story is about the congressional district of the late congressman, John Murtha, a district that is blue collar, mostly white, socially conservative. The kind of place Republicans thought they could take now and in the fall.

Mark Critz versus Tim Burns was the only Democrat versus Republican race of the evening, a special election.

MARK CRITZ (D), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE NOMINEE: You like the tie? It's got donkeys on it, you know? And we have a great victory tonight, don't we?

CROWLEY: It's more than a Democratic win. It's a major league talking point for Democrats who argue that in the first real test of strength in the fall elections Republicans failed. So this fall could change a lot of things or maybe not so much.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Philadelphia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: So the rallying cry of change, nowhere is it echoing louder this morning than in Kentucky. Tea Party darling Rand Paul is the new Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate. Voters rejected his opponent, Secretary of State Trey Grayson, who was the choice of the GOP mainstream.

CNN national political correspondent Jessica Yellin has the view from Bowling Green. So how did Rand Paul beat the man the establishment picked to win?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, with a strong grassroots movement in the state, with small events that happened around Kentucky, national fund-raising drive that raised money from Tea Party activists around the country, and a message that Washington needs to change and you need to put a nonpolitician there to do it. He said he is that man. Rand Paul ran as the insurgent here about a year ago. He was dismissed as a little more than an irrelevant irritation by the establishment. But he proved that with his message of smaller government, less spending and returning power to the states he could engage regular folks who were just frankly disgusted with Washington, and he did it.

He had a commanding win that showed an upstart candidate can beat the establishment in this unexpected year when Americans are just so frustrated, they want to try something, almost anything different, Fredricka. And he said he is going to run forward as the Tea Party candidate, not shirking that label, not worried it will hurt him in the general.

He wants to be the face of the Tea Party going forward and in Kentucky he definitely is -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: And so what is expected in his campaign from this point forward now?

YELLIN: Yes. You know, he is going to deliver a message that his positions are mainstream, that his views are in line with what the American people want. Balanced budget and term limits, for example, he says are two mainstream issues.

But expect the Democrats to try to cast him and they already have in e-mails and memo that went out last night saying that he's a, quote, "problematic candidate," someone whose views are outside the mainstream, who's, quote, "erratic and irrational."

So expect this to be a campaign that tries to cast Rand Paul as somebody who's a bit -- if you will -- of a kook and Rand Paul saying, you know, that's just the establishment trying to tar me.

I even asked him if he -- how he responds to those accusations that he's a kook, and he said, no, not if you look at the polls. And he expects to have the strong support of a unified Republican Party going forward.

Republicans plan to get behind him with a big unity event in Kentucky on Saturday -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Jessica Yellin from Bowling Green, thanks so much. Appreciate that.

Well, here's another measure of Washington's clout or lack of it. Incumbent Senator Blanche Lincoln had the very public support of both President Obama and former President Clinton but she couldn't muster the 50-plus percent to avoid a runoff.

CNN senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash is in Little Rock.

So, Dana, what was the dynamic in Arkansas that forced Lincoln into this runoff? DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, Blanche Lincoln is a classic moderate Democrat and she is from this very conservative state of Arkansas. She was already going to have a very tough go of it facing a Republican in the fall.

And then came the wave from the left. She was squeezed in the middle. And initially the big challenge against her was from big labor unions who came here in full force, very upset that she wasn't -- hasn't been loyal enough to them on issues that benefit their workers, they say.

And also she has been attacked by groups like Moveon.org and other left group who also poured money in here because they were upset that she wasn't standing firmly enough with President Obama on health care and other issues.

So that is what initially propelled her challenger, Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter. But then he took it into the other realm and that realm is what we're seeing across the country, which is the anti- incumbent, anti-Washington message. And he said that's what did it for him. Listen to what he said last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL HALTER (D), ARKANSAS SENATE CANDIDATE: We have a very straightforward message of putting Washington back on the side of middle-class Arkansas families, standing up for them against powerful special interest groups. And in 11 weeks we have run virtually even with 11 years of incumbency. That is, I think, a remarkable outcome.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: And Fredricka, there you heard what he had to say there. You know, that is definitely going to be the message that he's going to push forward in the next three weeks as he tries to actually take the nomination outright away from the incumbent Democrat, Blanche Lincoln.

WHITFIELD: All right. Dana Bash, thanks so much. Appreciate that. Joining us from Little Rock there.

All right, in just a few minutes we'll talk about what all of this means. Is this really a sign of what's to come in November? We'll look ahead after this break.

Also ahead, fighting the war on drugs and illegal immigration. Two leaders meeting to talk about a battle plan. Mexico's president pays a visit to the White House.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: And I'm CNN meteorologist Jacqui Jeras. Some nasty storms moving across Oklahoma at this hour, but we're expecting a more significant outbreak later on this afternoon. The details coming up in your forecast.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: The primary results give us a lot to talk about as we look ahead to the November midterm election.

CNN deputy political director Paul Steinhauser gets us started.

So, Paul, is this a sign of what's to come in November?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: It could be, Fred. You know, one of the things we talked about going into yesterday was look for the anti-incumbent mood. How strong was it.

Well, we saw Arlen Specter go down to defeat in Pennsylvania and Blanche Lincoln, another incumbent, didn't lose but has to fight another day in a runoff election next month in Arkansas.

So what does this mean for November? Rough economic times mean tough times for any incumbent running for re-election. There are going to be a lot more Democratic than Republican incumbents running for re-election in November.

So it could be a tough sign for Democrats as they try to hold their majorities in the Senate and in the House.

Another thing that we looked at last night was that special House race in Pennsylvania. It was the only race last night where there was a Democrat versus Republican. And if the Republicans were to take that seat away from the Democrats -- remember the late Jack Murtha had that seat for over 30 years -- we said that could be a sign that Republicans could do very well in November in the House.

Well, the Democrats, as you can see, Mark Critz, the Democrat in that race, won. They held the seat. So Democrats today are now saying it's going to be tough for Republicans to win back those 40 seats in the House they need to take the majority if that's what they want to do.

WHITFIELD: So, Paul, this is more than just an anti-incumbent message, isn't it? It's an anti-establishment message and perhaps it helps legitimize the Tea Party Movement when you look at the Kentucky race and to Rand Paul.

STEINHAUSER: Yes. That was a big victory for the Tea Party Movement. They'll take a lot of credit there since they backed Rand Paul. You heard Rand Paul's acceptance speech last night tout the Tea Party.

You know what, there was another Tea Party candidate in Kentucky that didn't get a lot of attention, but in the House race on the Republican side, a Tea Party-backed candidate beat the establishment candidate as well so another victory for them.

What's next is this will only embolden the movement, the anti- tax, limited federal government movement. And we're going to see it play out in some primaries next month in Nevada and California. You've got Tea Party-backed candidates versus more establishment or more moderate Republican candidates.

So we're going to keep an eye on that and see how it plays out as this primary process goes ahead -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, busy buildup as we head towards November. Thanks so much, Paul Steinhauser.

All right. The U.S. military says nearly a dozen Afghan militants died this morning in a failed but furious assault on Bagram Air Base. Nine allied troops were wounded as they repelled an intense insurgent attack that lasted more than three hours.

The U.S. is denying a Taliban account that the attack party breached the heavily secured base.

We'll have a live report coming up in the next hour with more on that.

And accused Times Square car bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad finally got his day in court. More than two weeks after he was captured trying to flee the country in federal magistrate's court yesterday. Prosecutors read the five terror-related charges Shahzad faces. Each carries a potential life in prison sentence if convicted. His next court date is set for June 1st.

Let's check in with our Jacqui Jeras. Some pretty nasty weather on the way to Oklahoma and maybe even Texas.

JERAS: Yes. You know, it's actually been hitting all morning long, Fredricka.

(WEATHER REPORT)

JERAS: So a lot of action happening across the USA today, but the main headline is certainly those severe thunderstorms.

Fredricka, we've seen pictures of hail that have -- you know, been like baseball to softball size and the hail is going to be a really good probability to see the big ones like that again this afternoon.

WHITFIELD: It seems like we've seen a lot of hail this season already, have we?

JERAS: We have had a lot of hail.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

JERAS: Yes.

WHITFIELD: OK.

JERAS: Strong updrafts in those thunderstorms, you know, hold it up there into the air and you just keep getting layer after layer like an onion, right, where all that ice just collects on there?

WHITFIELD: Some (INAUDIBLE), some were bigger.

JERAS: Yes. And the stronger the updraft, the bigger they are because it can hold it up there for a longer period of time.

WHITFIELD: Wow. All right, Jacqui, thanks so much, appreciate it.

JERAS: Sure.

WHITFIELD: All right, well, the leaders have surrendered but not the masses of the anti-government protest movement in Thailand. We'll take you live to the ongoing interaction.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Checking our top stories right now. Pennsylvania senator Arlen Specter lost his race in the Democratic primary. Likely bringing his political career to an end come November.

He is the latest casualty of an anti-incumbent backlash. Arkansas incumbent senator Blanche Lincoln is heading to a runoff in her primary battle.

Terror bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad considered other targets in New York before settling on Times Square apparently. Investigators laid out part of their case against Shahzad during his first court appearance. Shahzad didn't enter a plea but he did get an attorney. He'll be back in court June 1st.

And immigration is likely to be the number one topic in discussion today between President Obama and Mexican president Felipe Calderon. Calderon is expected to arrive at the White House any minute now.

You're looking at live pictures right now as they are poised and ready for the president's arrival.

The two leaders will also be discussing border security and Mexico's drug war. A joint news conference, by the way, is scheduled for 11:50 a.m. Eastern Time. We'll bring that to you live.

All right, nine students slashed in their college dormitory in China. It's the sixth separate assault against young people there in the last two months. We'll have details on that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Another horrific slashing attack on students in China. The latest happened on a college campus today in Haikou in the southern province of Hainan.

Nine students were slashed when a group of men armed with cleavers burst into their dormitory before dawn. One student's hand was actually cut off. The other eight were slightly wounded. Two remain hospitalized.

The attack follows a series of deadly assaults by lone assailants against schoolchildren as young as 3 years old. Bangkok back from the brink of near anarchy as the weeklong standoff between security forces and anti-government demonstrators appears -- appears over despite sporadic outbreaks still of violence. All of this happening after protest leaders surrendered, facing a massive show of might from the Thai military.

CNN's Sara Sidner is live in Bangkok with the very latest.

So, Sara, you know, set the scene for us and how all of this is maybe coming to a conclusion.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The best way to put it is what a mess. So much chaos for six days, and now there is a curfew in place. It just started about an hour ago. It will go for 10 hours until 6:00 in the morning Bangkok time to try and get a handle on this violence.

What has happened since the protest leaders turned themselves in and called off the protest saying they didn't want to see any more bloodshed in the streets, six people killed, 69 people injured today alone.

What has happened is that small groups within the protesters who have decided to become destructive and violent have gone out into the city and started setting fires. They've set fires to a huge mall, the second largest mall in Asia, a huge luxury mall with everything you could imagine inside it. That's been burning for some of the day.

And then they set fire to a TV station, a bank, and so now the troops and the government trying to figure out how to get a handle on protesters who have broken off from the main protest that has completely dissolved and started trouble in other parts of the city.

Hence this curfew that's in place now hoping that that will help stop all this because anyone in the streets could be arrested -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: And, Sara, as we look at the videotape, images that we've seen of the plumes of smoke, you know, throughout the city, how are general citizens being impacted by all this?

SIDNER: I'm so glad you asked that. It's such a good question. I think a lot of times people forget about the regular people who are living in this and business owners watching their businesses in danger because of all this gunfire and these fires.

Residents are frustrated is the best way to put it. They're frustrated. They're tired of this. This has been going on for six weeks. These protesters have taken a hold of an area in Bangkok and there has been trouble for six weeks. But the last few days have been really violent and they're just tired of it.

The electricity has been turned off in their neighborhood. It's scorching hot and extremely humid. It's been really difficult for them to deal with this. And now school is closed for the rest of the week so I think people are really getting tired dealing with this and they just want to get on with their lives -- Fredricka. WHITFIELD: All right, Sara Sidner, thanks so much, from Bangkok.

All right, new video of oil pouring out into the Gulf of Mexico. Take a look. Plumes of oil. Evidence that the fix is not working. We're looking at the next step in the effort to stop the flow.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: On Wall Street, the euro has guided trading this week, and today the currency dropped to a new four-year low.

For a look at what this all means for the stocks here at home, let's go to Christine Romans in New York.

Christine?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Fredricka. You're right. It's all about the European currency. The euro dropped to $1.21, that's a four-year low.

European stock markets are selling off along with the euro, and so we're expecting U.S. stocks to open lower as well. Dow futures were down 77 points in the minutes before the opening bell rings in about 30 seconds.

The latest news out of Europe is that Germany is banning a form of short selling. The idea is to prevent speculators, just raw risk takers, from betting against certain types of investments like the government debt and banking debt of Europe that they'll decline.

The intent is to stabilize trading but it's having actually the opposite effect and there's a real lack of confidence in those markets this morning.

Oil prices taking a hit, crude trading at $68 a barrel. Oil, Fredricka, has dropped nearly $20 in just the past couple of weeks. Why? Because of fears that Europe's debt crisis is going to hurt economic growth and oil demand. Here in the U.S., H&R Block cutting jobs and closing offices. The tax prepare is going to trim 400 jobs.

It's already shutting down 400 underperforming locations. The goal from H&R Block is to cut costs by about $150 million. Checking the early numbers, the Dow is down about 20 points right now. The Nasdaq and the S&P are slightly lower as well. We'll watch to see if the selling picks up or if you don't find a little bit of buying in there.

Finally, Fred, a Cup of Jo, the morning cup of coffee is going to cost a little bit more. Smucker's is raising prices on many of its coffee products by 4 percent. This is because of higher production cost, they say. They own Folgers, Dunkin' Donuts and Millstone. So, have a drink to that. back to you.

WHITFIELD: Gosh, as if the cup of coffee isn't crazy enough. All right. Christine Romans, appreciate that.

ROMANS: Yes.

WHITFIELD: All right. Only a fraction of Americans voted in only a handful of states, but how many voted could affect all of us. A growing dissatisfaction puts Washington on notice and puts at least one incumbent out of work. So, let's get started right in Kentucky where a tea party favorite and first-time candidate, Rand Paul, won the Republican primary for Senate. Paul is the son of Texas congressman and former presidential candidate, Ron Paul. Rand Paul defeated Secretary of State Trey Grayson, who had the backing of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Rand Paul will face Jack Conway in November. Kentucky's attorney general won the Democratic primary. Conway beat Lieutenant Governor Daniel Mongiardo. Looking ahead to the general election battle, Conway pointed out that he had more votes in his primary than Rand did in the Republican one. And a 30-year run on Capitol Hill is now over for Senator Arlen Specter. He fell in the Democratic primary to Joe Sestak, a congressman and retired admiral. Specter left the GOP to become a Democrat just 13 months ago. That shift gave Democrats 60 votes at the time, the threshold to overcome filibusters.

And staying in Pennsylvania now, John Murtha's congressional seat will remain in Democratic hands. Mark Critz defeated Republican Tim Burns in a special election. Critz was a longtime aide to Murtha who served for 18 terms until his death this year. Critz will have to defend his seat come November, however.

And the Arkansas democratic Senate primary is headed to a June 8th runoff. Neither the incumbent, Blanche Lincoln, nor the challenger, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, took 50 percent of the vote yesterday. Lincoln had led in the pre-election polls, but Halter had closed the gap in the last few days.

A state visit to the White House by Mexico's president, Felipe Calderon. You're looking at live pictures right now, obviously the President and First Lady there at attention awaiting the arrival of Mr. Calderon. And there will certainly be a major welcoming ceremony going on before the two presidents that meet. They will likely be talking about a host of issues including the Mexican violence, border issues in this country, and of course, Arizona's new immigration law as well.

Our Rafael Romo is with us now to give us some kind of color on what is expected when the two presidents meet. This is a very grand welcoming ceremony that's about to take place on the garden there. And then when the president of Mexico arrives, he and the president of the United States will take to the microphones for a couple of short comments. Is this likely, I guess, to set the tone of their discussions? Is this the public, I guess, viewing of what the tone of the discussions will be?

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. And this is a very significant moment, Fred, to see something like this, we'd have to go back to 2001. That's before 9/11 when former President Vicente Fox and then President George Bush met for a similar occasion. Definitely, on the agenda, the Arizona immigration law is going to be definitely one of the topics being discussed, also drug violence.

Congress is expected to start talking about renewing the initiative by which the United States provides Mexico with funding for equipment and training. That's coming out in Congress in the next week. So many issues to talk about here.

WHITFIELD: OK. And here's the limo pulling up. Felipe Calderon will be stepping out, being greeted, of course, by the president and first lady. And then we understand shortly after that greeting and maybe perhaps some of his members of cabinet, we did see Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was nearby. We saw the vice president, Joe Biden, as well as his wife were standing nearby. Perhaps a few greetings there as they -- oh, well. They're going to pass on the greetings. They're going to head straight over to the microphones it appears.

ROMO: Just last month, Fred, first lady Michelle Obama was in Mexico. She was greeted by the Mexican first lady, Margarita Zavala, who was also on this state visit, and there will be a state dinner tonight at the White House.

WHITFIELD: OK. And then we understand that the Mexican president will actually be meeting separately with some of the cabinet members as well after he's had talks with the president and they've talked about everything from the Arizona immigration law to the Mexican violence, and perhaps, even trade will be at the top of that agenda as well.

ROMO: Exactly. Also, very important, Fred, is that tomorrow, the Mexican president will address the U.S. Congress. And as you can imagine, he's going to talk about the joint effort between the United States and Mexico to fight drug cartels in Mexico.

WHITFIELD: OK. There were the greetings, after all. And now, they're heading to the microphones, so let's listen in to what the president of the United States and the president of Mexico have to say.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the national anthem of Mexico followed by the national anthem of the United States of America.

WHITFIELD (voice-over): OK. You are looking at the formal greeting of the president of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, arriving there at the White House, being greeted, of course, by members of President Obama's cabinet as well as being greeted by the president and the first lady as well. Raphael Romo is with me now. We know on the agenda for the two presidents. We know they're going to be talking about what's become the controversial immigration law in Arizona.

Apparently, that is something that has hit President Calderon hard. He's got some very strong comments and thoughts about that new law. What is he likely to request of the president as it pertains to that law? ROMO (voice-over): Most definitely, Fredricka. Well, he has openly said that it's a discriminatory law and that his government repudiates it and wants it changed. Also, they're looking at the possibility of joining some of the legal lawsuits already, legal challenges to this law, not necessarily as an active litigator but as a friend of the court, as somebody who can give testimony as to what this law would do to Mexicans living in Arizona.

But he's not too focused on making Arizona the big issue of the visit. Of course, we also have to remember that one of the most important issues for Mexico and the United States is drug violence and what to do about it. Back in March, there were three people shot to death in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico who were tied to the American consulate in Juarez. And so, it's definitely an issue that's causing great concern on both sides of the border.

WHITFIELD: OK. And now, it appears that the two presidents will be taking to the microphone here and having a few comments, preliminary comments for the general public because they will be going behind closed doors there at the White House and having their meetings one-on-one. And do we understand that President Calderon will also be meeting individually, separately, with certain members of the cabinet before ultimately meeting with members of Congress.

You talked about that joint meeting of Congress that's likely to take place during his visit here. It looks like there's more pomp and circumstance here, more music. So, while they are poised at the microphones, it still will be a little bit of time before they actually are to give their comments. The Mexican violence, the drug cartel are related violence. We understand that this president, Calderon, is to try to convey to President Obama that their methods are working, that the violence has actually dropped. How will he make that kind of convincing argument?

ROMO: The way he describes it is what's happening in Mexico right now is what happens to a wounded bear. When you wound a bear, it lashes out, and that's what's happening to drug cartels. They're lashing out because they're desperate. They're feeling trapped, and they're feeling weakened, and so, they're trying desperately to try to be in a better position. And so that's Mr. Calderon's main point, that his strategy is working.

But, many say that so far during his administration, 23,000 people have died already, all related to drug violence. And so many question whether his strategy is going to work in the long term. And in any case, his administration will be defined by the war on drug cartels.

WHITFIELD: Well, you have to wonder whether, you know, President Calderon, while he talks about the violence may be reduced, still there's a big problem with corruption. There's a big problem with police officers in many jurisdictions being the targets of the drug cartels. And then Mexico, if it's not actually supplying the drugs, it has become a transit route, a significant one, particularly for some 90 percent of the cocaine that makes it into the United States. Does President Calderon say he has a plan to stop the trafficking or to stop Mexico being a thruway for drugs, making its way into the U.S.?

ROMO: Goal number one according to the president is to stabilize the country, to reduce the violence, and to find a way to dismantle the drug cartels. Then, you can tackle all of the other issues. That's what he was talking about when he went to Ciudad Juarez a couple months ago. That's the main issue, make the country stable so that at the international level there's no fear about going to Mexico.

WHITFIELD: OK. Now, the President of the United States Barack Obama.

(BEGIN COVERAGE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good morning.

(LAUGHTER)

Buenos dias.

On behalf of Michelle, myself, and the American people, it is my great honor to welcome our neighbor, friend, and partner, President Calderon, along with First Lady Margarita Zavala, and members of the Mexican delegation. Welcome to the United States. Bienvenidos.

(APPLAUSE)

(SPANISH TRANSLATION)

OBAMA: President Calderon was the first foreign leader that I met after my election. This visit is an opportunity to return the extraordinary warmth and hospitality that the president, the first lady, and the people of Mexico have shown me during my visits to Mexico, as well as to Michelle, during her first solo international trip as First Lady.

(SPANISH TRANSLATION)

OBAMA: Mr. President, it is fitting that your visit comes during this year's celebration -- the bicentennial of Mexican independence and the centennial of the Mexican revolution. And you and the Mexican people draw strength from your proud past to forge your future. We recall the words of a great Octavio Paz, who said, "Between tradition and modernity there is a bridge." With this visit, we can also strengthen the many bridges that bind our two nations.

(SPANISH TRANSLATION)

OBAMA: the United States and Mexico are not simply neighbors bound by geography and history. We are by choice friends and partners. We are bound by our business partners, workers and tourists who fuel our prosperity; by our students and educators who broaden our horizons; and by our men and women in uniform who serve and sacrifice to keep us safe. (SPANISH TRANSLATION)

OBAMA: In the United States, we're also proud of another bond; the ties of family. Mexican-American families have been here for centuries as well as those who continue our proud tradition as a nation of immigrants. All of whom strengthen our American family and who join us today.

(SPANISH TRANSLATION)

OBAMA: Mr. President, working together, we've built upon these bridges. We forged a new era of cooperation any partnership between our countries based on mutual interest, mutual respect and mutual responsibilities. And with your visit we can advance our partnership even further.

(SPANISH TRANSLATION)

OBAMA: Together we can help create jobs and prosperity for our people. We can ensure that our common border is secure, modern and efficient including immigration that is orderly and safe. We can stand firm and deepen our cooperation against the drug cartels that threaten our people. Given Mexico's global leadership, we can stand together for the opportunity and security of all people in our hemisphere and beyond.

(SPANISH TRANSLATION)

OBAMA: Finally, Mr. President, your visit speaks to a truth of our time in North America and the world. In the 21st century we are defined not by our borders, but by our bonds. So I say to you and to the Mexican people, let us stand together, let us face the future together, let us work together.

(SPEAKING SPANISH)

(SPANISH TRANSLATION)

OBAMA: President Calderon, Senora Zavala, welcome to the United States.

(SPANISH TRANSLATION)

(APPLAUSE)

PRES. FELIPE CALDERON, MEXICO: (SPEAKING SPANISH) Good morning, everybody.

CROWD: Good morning.

(END OF COVERAGE)

WHITFIELD: OK. President Felipe Calderon there with his remarks. We're going to take a short break for now and come back on the other side with more on what the president of Mexico is saying during his visit to the White House. You heard President Barack Obama there saying that we're defined not by the borders, but our bond, talking about collectively how the U.S. and Mexico wants to move forward together especially as it pertains to the fight against drug cartels. Much more right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: The U.S. Coast Guard says tar balls that washed up in the Florida Keys are not from the Gulf of Mexico oil leak. Here's new video, however, of that leak showing very little progress in stopping that flow. The BP video is from Monday. It's after BP inserted a pipe to siphon off some of the oil gushing out of the broken well. The company said they are collecting about 20 percent of the oil.

Well, some of that oil is already washing up in Louisiana. And so far the most impacted of the Gulf states happens to be Louisiana.

CNN's David Mattingly is live from Venice, Louisiana, this morning.

So apparently, heavy oil new reaching the marshes in the region and some of the still images are pretty phenomenal.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. This is exactly what the people in Louisiana have been fearing most, seeing those thick, black patches of oil coming ashore in their barrier islands. We took a trip out there and got some pictures of this.

We were able to see some of those black patches of oil washing up on the beaches. We could see it coating the roots of the vegetation on some of these marshy barrier islands out there. So those thick globs that we've heard about out in the ocean now evidence of that coming ashore here in Louisiana. That's going to be much more problematic in the cleanup, but at this point not very widespread in terms of the thickness of the oil.

But here in Louisiana, when we're talking about the oil altogether, the thick spots and the sheen that we talked about, 29 miles of coastline so far in Louisiana affected by this oil slick. And when they talk about these thick patches of oil, the Governor's office describes it as thick ribbons of emulsified oil with a pudding- like consistency.

But they've already got crews out there. They're actually out there with shovels and rakes to clean all of this up as best they can, trying to stay on top of it and hope more of it does not come ashore -- Fredericka.

WHITFIELD: All right. David Mattingly, thanks so much for keeping us posted on that from Venice, Louisiana.

We'll have much more from the NEWSROOM after this.

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