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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

President Obama's Second State Dinner and Reception

"To The Happiness Of Our People"

Our First Lady (looking gorgeous, as usual) and President Obama (bow-tie a bit off center) with Mexican President Calderon and Mrs. Margarita Zavala. (More photos).

Tonight’s State Dinner will be held in the East Room of the White House with State Dinner performances held under a tent on the South Lawn of the White House.  Performances are expected by Beyonce, Rodrigo y Gabriela and the United States Marine Band.

The most recent State Dinner held at the White House was for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mrs. Gursharan Kaur of India hosted on November 24, 2009.  (Our coverage here).

A Message From President Calderon at the State Dinner
President Calderon points out the similarities between he and President Obama, explaining the two want the same things - "Happiness of our people."

"We both belong to the same generation, almost the same age. We both are lawyers, for a time we went to the same University; we both marrieed a beautiful, charismatic and intelligent wife; both of them are lawyers, we both are left handed, and are president of two beautiful countries and in charge of millions of beautiful souls... but we share something more important: we both are looling for the same dream: the happiness of our people".

"We not only are neighbors, not only partners, not only allies: We really are friends", said Calderón.

Welcoming Mexico's President
President Calderón and Mrs. Zavala were welcomed at the White House earlier this morning on the South Lawn of the White House by President Obama and First Lady Michelle where a 21 Gun Salute and the singing of the National Anthem of Mexico along with the U.S. National Anthem were performed.

Mrs. Obama and Mexican First Lady Margarita Zavala visited the New Hampshire Estates Elementary School in Silver Spring, Maryland in the afternoon where the issue of immigration came to a head when a student commented "Barack Obama is taking everybody away that doesn't have papers", to which Mrs. Obama replied, "“We have to work on that. We have to make sure that people can be here and get the right kind of papers; that’s exactly right. We have to work on that. We have to fix that.”  (See video)

The First Lady participated in an exercise session with the students as part of her Let's Move! campaign which stresses the importance of exercise and healthy eating for youth to combat obesity in a generation.  In that spirit, the kids dined on a lunch of whole grain breaded chicken drumstick, seasoned potatoes, dinner roll, broccoli cuts with ranch dressing, assorted fresh fruit, and milk.

Mrs. Zavala then presented gifts to the students—little books about the butterflies of Michoacan, Mexico, home of several famous Monarch butterfly reserves.

Joint Press Availability
In the afternoon President Obama held a 'press conference' with President Calderón on the South Lawn where the two reaffirmed their committment to the two countries, both expressing how the two countries "compliment" each other.

"I can highlight here that the areas where we agree are broader than our differences",  said Calderón.

President Obama with Mexico's president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa in the South Lawn today. (Photo/CD Brown).

Topics that were addressed in earlier meetings on the day between the two included jobs, education, immigration, and border control.
"We gave special attention to the border matters", said Calderón. "The border is not only a place of encounter for both our nations, but it’s also an area of opportunity for our aspirations that we share regarding development. For this we will allocate more resources for the border infrastructure in order that it will be at the height of the needs of our economies and communities, and that it will benefit both sides of the border. We will strengthen the coordination among the government officials on both sides of the border to reinforce security."

When asked a question by a member of the attending media on the issue of Arizona's Immigration Law, President Obama said the law was "potentially discriminatory". 

"I want everyone, American and Mexican, to know my administration is taking a very close look at the Arizona law. We’re examining any implications, especially for civil rights. Because in the United States of America, no law-abiding person -- be they an American citizen, a legal immigrant, or a visitor or tourist from Mexico -- should ever be subject to suspicion simply because of what they look like."

The president has tasked the U.S. Justice Department to take a careful look at the language of the law to see whether it complies with existing legal standards.  A final report from JD is expected soon.

The president was adament when it comes to those entering the country illegally - outlining a series of points that needed to be addressed - the president said, "The third thing we have to do is to make sure that those who have come to this country illegally are held accountable. And that means they need to pay a fine, they need to pay back taxes. I believe they should learn English. I believe that it is important for them to get to the back of the line and not in the front, but that we create a pathway so that they have an opportunity, if they are following the rules, following the law, to become legal residents and ultimately citizens of this country."

The president supports "a comprehensive immigration reform approach."

The Guest List
Guests to join the President & First Lady with His Excellency Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, President of Mexico and Mrs. Margarita Zavala include:

The Honorable Tom Atkin, Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director, NSC; Mr. Monte Briggs Hawkins; The Honorable Joe Baca, United States Representative; Mr. Robert C. Barber, Cambridge, MA; Mrs. Denise Bauer, Belvedere Tiburon, CA; Mr. Steve Bauer; The Honorable Robert Rand Beers, Under Secretary for National Protection Programs, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC; Mrs. Marian Beers; The Honorable Alan D. Bersin, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for International Affairs; The Honorable Barbara Boxer, United States Senate; Mr. Michael Camuñez, Special Assistant to the President, Office of Presidential Personnel; Mr. Steven Means; Mr. Thomas Castro, BMP Radio, Houston, TX; Ms. Jacqueline Castro; The Honorable Gil Cedillo, California State Senate, Los Angeles, CA; Mr. Gilbert Martinez; The Honorable James E. Clyburn, United States Representative, Washington, DC; The Honorable Henry Cuellar, United States Representative; Amy Travieso; Mr. Jim Demers, Concord, NH; Mr. Carlos Elizondo, Washington, DC; Mr. Mark Dumas; The Honorable Eliot Engel, United States Representative; Mrs. Patricia Engel; The Honorable José W. Fernández, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC; Ms. Andrea Gabor; Ms. María Garza, President, Mexican American Council, Homestead, FL; Edward Garza; Mr. Stuart Grant, Greenville, DE; Mrs. Suzanne Grant; The Honorable Raúl Grijalva, United States Representative Ms. Marisa H. Grijalva; The Honorable Gary Grindler, Acting Deputy Attorney General of the United States; Christine Grindler; Ms. Christy Haubegger, Creative Artists Agency, Los Angeles, CA; Mr. Steven Wolfe Pereira; The Honorable David Heyman, Assistant Secretary for Policy, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC; Ms. Victoria T White; The Honorable Rubén Hinojosa, United States Representative; Mrs. Martha Hinojosa; The Honorable Fred Hochberg, Export-Import Bank, Washington, DC; Dr. John P. Holdren, Washington, DC; Ms. Roberta Jacobson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for North American Affairs; Mr. Jonathon Jacobson; The Honorable David Johnson, Assistant Secretary of State for INL; Ms. Scarlett Swan; Mr. Lon Johnson; Mr. Michael Kempner, East Rutherford, NJ; Mrs. Jacqueline Kempner; Mr. Steven Lerner, Chapel Hill, NC; Dr. Sharon Van Horn;
The Honorable David Lipton, SAP and Senior Director for International Economics; Ms. Mary Galbraith; The Honorable Nita Lowey, United States Representative; Mr. Stephen Lowey;
The Honorable Ben Ray Lujan, United States Representative;
Ms. Deanna Archeleta; Ms. Maria Matos, Wilmington, DE; Ms. Sindy Ortiz; Mr. Gary Matthews, Chicago, IL; Mrs. Sandy Matthews; Mr. John F. McShane; Mrs. Kathleen C. McShane; The Honorable Daniel Meltzer, Deputy Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy Counsel to the President, White House Counsel; The Honorable Janet Murguía, President and CEO, National Council of La Raza, Washington, DC; Mauro Morales, The Honorable Grace Napolitano, United States Representative; Ms. Angela Salinas;
Mr. Danny Ortega, Chair, National Council of La Raza Board, Phoenix, AZ;
Mr. Raul Perea-Henze; Mr. Stephen B. Sobhani; Mr. Jon Ralston, Las Vegas Sun, Henderson, NV; Ms. Madeline Ralston; The Honorable Vivian Rapposelli, Secretary, Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families, Newark, DE; Stephen Rapposelli; The Honorable Nick Rasmussen, SAP and Senior Director for Counterterrorism; Mrs. Maria Rasmussen; Mr. Sean Regan, Director, NSSS Transborder Security Policy; Mrs. Eva N. Regan; Ms. Rosa Rosales, San Antonio, TX; Mr. Brent Ashley Wilkes, Executive Director, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Washington, DC;
The Honorable Lucille Roybal-Allard, United States Representative; Mr. Edward Allard; The Honorable Francisco Sánchez, Undersecretary of Commerce, Washington, DC; Ms. Mileydi Guilarte; The Honorable Linda Sánchez, United States Representative; Mr. James Sullivan, Guest of Then Honorable Linda Sanchez; The Honorable Loretta Sanchez; Ms. Esther L. Coopersmith; The Honorable Elizabeth Sears Smith, Office of Cabinet Affairs; Mr. Douglas Smith; Mr. Jeffrey Stirling; Mrs. Cynthia L. Stirling; The Honorable Paul Stockton, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas' Security Affairs; Mrs. Kristin Stockton; The Honorable Bruce Swartz, Department of Justice; Ms. Deborah Goodings; Ms. Grace Tsao-Wu, Chicago, IL; Ms. Laura Kofoid; Ms. Mimi Valdés Ryan, Co-Founder/Editor-in-Chief,, New York, NY; Mr. Florian Bachleda; Mr. Jorge Valencia, West Des Moines, IA; Ms. Ramona Rowbury-Valencia; Secretary Tom Vilsack, Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC; Mrs. Christie Vilsack.

Entertainment provided by Beyoncé, Rodrigo y Gabriela, and the U.S. Marine Band.

A Review Of The Day
President Obama and First Lady Welcome President of Mexico
Perhaps The One And Only Slip Up?
Behind-The-Scenes of The State Dinner

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