"President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, emerging with smiles after a meeting in Harper's office and a working lunch, said this afternoon they had agreed to work closely on stimulus plans to tackle the global recession, to create a joint clean energy initiative, and to pursue stability and progress in Afghanistan," the Boston Globe writes.
A few things to ponder: if residents of other countries react the way Canadians reacted to Obama, he's not going to be popular with a lot of world leaders... potentially. We wonder what was going through Prime Minister Stephen Harper's head when thousands showed to Parliament just hoping to catch a glimpse of the American leader.
On policy, it was interesting to see and hear Obama in Canada have to walk the line on NAFTA again. But if yesterday highlighted anything, it's the difference between being a candidate and being a president. Harper may have shown the U.S. and Canada's cards, by the way, when he said that the U.S. and Canada have the same goals on trade. Reading between the lines, he's saying, "Hey, we're not the problem here when it comes to labor and environmental standards." Over to you, Mexico.
On Air Force One, Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg said Harper "raised the issue of 'Buy America.' The President basically said what he said in the press conference about the fact that he was committed to making sure that everything we did was consistent with NAFTA and the WTO, and recognized that it was important under these circumstances for trade not to contract and for countries to work together to address that."
Clinton's Bluntness on North Korea: Staying abroad, NBC's Andrea Mitchell reports from Asia, following Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Clinton is trying to reinvent the role of Secretary of State -- surprising reporters on her plane and a lot of diplomats yesterday by talking plainly, even if it wasn't exactly diplomatic. Asked today why she had been so blunt about North Korea's ailing leader Kim Jong Il, she said, "I don't think it's a forbidden subject to talk about succession in the Hermit Kingdom. ...To worry about something that is so self-evident is an impediment to clear thinking." It does mark a change from the usual diplomatese.
She's been getting a rock star reception -- just take a look at what happened in Jakarta when she waded into a poor neighborhood to look at a water sanitization project and was mobbed. But she also fielded questions on balancing love and a career. She runs the risk becoming a Dear Abby of secretaries of state. On the docket today is Beijing. Clinton says she will focus on the global economy, on climate change, and on a range of security issues like North Korea. Some human rights groups are complaining already that she is downplaying their concerns to play up to the Chinese.
The Washington Post rounds up Clinton's trip to Asia by framing it as an international "listening tour."
In Israel, NBC's Yael Factor reports that the office of President Shimon Peres said in a statement today that right-wing leader Benjamin Netanyahu will be asked to form the next Israeli government. The Likud party leader would meet the head of state at 2:15, to receive a formal invitation to form an administration. He would then have six weeks to forge a coalition cabinet.
Netanyahu told Peres he understood the need for unity government, and that he's willing to go far in order to establish such a government."