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CNN Today

Bush, Fox Begin U.S.-Mexican Summit

Aired February 16, 2001 - 1:08 p.m. ET

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

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: President Bush is on his first trip abroad since taking office, but he hasn't gone far, and he won't be gone long.

Joining us now with more about it, CNN senior White House correspondent John King is in sunny Leon, Mexico -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And that's right, Natalie. President Bush choosing for his first trip outside the United States as president a place he is familiar with and a leader he is familiar with from his days as governor of Texas.

President Bush arriving here in Mexico a few hours ago now, greeted at the airport as Air Force One landed by Mexican President Vicente Fox. These two men, who prefer the informal to the formal, two men who met three times in the past, two of those occasions when both were governors. And Mr. Fox also traveled to Texas to see then- Gov. Bush during the presidential campaign.

Now, so far, more style and symbolism than substance. After that airport arrival ceremony, the two leaders traveling to visit Mr. Fox's mother. And Mr. Bush -- excuse me -- posing for photos there with Mr. Fox with his mother, with some women gathered nearby in traditional dresses, both leaders making jokes with one another and engaging small talk.

White House officials say that body language is important, very difficult issues dividing the United States and Mexico over the years like drug trafficking, like illegal immigration.

One positive on the plus side, they say, trade. And you mentioned a few moments ago the California power crisis. That also on the agenda as these two leaders discuss whether additional steps can be taken so that Mexico, the United States and, down the road, Canada could share power with each other during times of emergency.

The White House saying don't look for any big breakthroughs on this trip. They say it's a getting-to-know-you visit. And, again, President Bush, knowing the world is watching as well as the people back home in the United States as he makes his first venture out onto the international stage, wanted to come to a place he's quiet familiar with. He'll only be here a few hours, though. Dinner tonight will be at the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas -- Natalie.

ALLEN: A quick trip. John King in Mexico with the president. Thanks, John.

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