Obama, Pena Nieto agree to form high-level economic working group - President Obama and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto sought Thursday to broaden U.S.-Mexican relations and the focus those ties beyond security as both touted newly inked cooperative agreements on improving trade and educational exchange.
Both leaders said they had agreed to form a high-level economic working group that will seek to improve trade and foster economic growth on both sides of the border. Vice President Joe Biden will be involved in the effort.
They agreed to establish a bilateral forum on higher education, innovation, and research that will develop a shared vision on educational cooperation. They also agreed to work together to try and ensure the completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement by the end of the year.
The overarching theme, they said, was to make the region as a whole more productive and competitive in the global economy, while enhancing opportunities within each country. Politico.com has more here.
Obama: "This was just the first round on background checks" -Feeling strongly enough about the issue, President Barack Obama on Thurday interjected to a question on gun control originally directed at Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Obama reaffirmed that he intends to keep lobbying Congress to expand background checks on firearm purchases, despite the recent failure of legislation that would have done so in the Senate.
"This was just the first round," Obama told reporters following a bilateral summit in Mexico City. "I believe we'll eventually get that done. We'll keep on trying." TPM.com has more here.
Rhode Island latest state to pass gay marriage - The Rhode Island state House passed a measure to legalize gay marriage on a 56-15 vote, which Governor Lincoln Chafee (I) planned to sign. Rhode Island will become the 10th state to legalize gay marriage.
The matching House and Senate bills allow same-sex weddings as of August 1 and also allow same-sex couples who joined in civil unions to change their status to married. The Providence Journal has more here.
Emily's List launches "Madam President" initiative - With former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waiting in the wings, a prominent Democratic group launched an effort Thursday to pave the way for electing America's first woman president.
Marshaling new polling data of voters in battleground states, the Democratic women's group EMILY's List said Americans fully believe the country is ready to elect a woman as president, pointing to results showing almost three in four Americans "expect" the nation to elect a woman as president in 2016.
The initiative, dubbed "Madam President," comes well before the next presidential election has even begun to take shape, but has clear implications for Clinton, Democrats' favorite right now to carry the party's banner. NBC News has more here.
Pelosi: "Hillary Clinton most qualified for president" - House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she "prays" Hillary Rodham Clinton will run for president.
Pelosi, D-Calif., speaking in Little Rock about current affairs in American politics, said she had no inside information about whether Clinton will run. But, she said, she considers Clinton the most qualified potential nominee.
"I pray that Hillary Clinton decides to run for president of the United States," Pelosi said, drawing loud applause from the crowd of several hundred at the Robinson Center. "... Nobody has been first lady and senator and now secretary of state. Putting everything aside that she is a woman, she'd be the best qualified person that we've seen [in recent years]." The Arkansas Democrat Gazette has more here.
Prosecutor in Musharraf case killed - In an attack that shocked the usually sedate capital, gunmen on Friday morning shot to death the Pakistani government’s top prosecutor in a case accusing former military ruler Pervez Musharraf of involvement in the 2007 assassination of ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto, police said.
The gunmen, riding in a taxi, sprayed state prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfikar’s car with bullets as he was leaving his home here en route to an anti-terrorism court in nearby Rawalpindi for trial proceedings in the Bhutto case.
Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan for nine years before going into self-exile in 2008, returned in March in an ultimately futile bid to run for prime minister. He has been under house arrest for several weeks, facing allegations in various cases linked to his tenure. The Washington Post has more here.
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Friday, May 3, 2013
Posted by George Wenschhof at 7:48 AM