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North American summit added to Obama's agenda

President Bush joins the leaders of Mexico and Canada in New Orleans last year (WND photo)

After weeks of total silence on the issue, the White House press secretary today issued a terse statement confirming that President Obama will attend the North American Leaders summit with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper next month.

WND reported earlier on the silence from the White House about the meeting. The only mention at that time of the Mexico summit that WND could find on a U.S. government website was on a calendar on the U.S. Department of State site that listed only: “August 8-11, North American Leader’s Summit, Mexico,” with no additional information.

Now in an e-mailed statement from Press Secretary Robert Gibbs titled “Upcoming Travel by the President,” he confirms Obama will attend.

“The president will travel to Guadalajara, Mexico, August 9-10 to attend the North American Leaders Summit with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper,” the two-sentence announcement began.

“The summit meeting will provide an opportunity for the United States, Mexico, and Canada to engage on a broad range of issues, including economic recovery and competitiveness in North America, our shared interest in energy and the environment, and cooperation among our governments to promote the safety and welfare of our citizens, including continued close cooperation to counter the A/H1N1 influenza pandemic.”

WND has reported that the last annual SPP meeting in New Orleans included a determined public relations effort to drop the SPP designation completely in order to defuse criticism.

When he was a candidate, Obama wrote an article published by the Dallas Morning News entitled, “I will repair our relationship with Mexico,” in which he stated: “Starting my first year in office, I will convene annual meetings with Mr. Calderon and the prime minister of Canada. Unlike similar summits under President Bush, these will be conducted with a level of transparency that represents the close ties among our three countries.”

Brent Patterson, the director of campaigns at the Council of Canadians, had been critical of Obama for not announcing his plans, questioning Obama’s “commitment … to transparency and accountability for this meeting.”

The Council of Canadians is a citizens’ organization WND has previously reported is actively opposed to North American political integration under NAFTA and the SPP.

WND has previously reported that Robert A. Pastor, the American University professor who for more than a decade has been a major proponent of building a North American Community, has declared the SPP “is dead,” largely due to efforts to expose the SPP’s North American integration agenda.

WND has also reported that President Obama has backtracked on his campaign promises to renegotiate NAFTA in order to get provisions more favorable to U.S. workers and U.S. jobs.

During the presidential campaign, Obama was forced to fire from his campaign an important economic adviser. Austan Goolsbee, an economics professor at the University of Chicago business school, was dismissed after reporters learned he had traveled to Canada to reassure Canadians that Obama’s campaign promises to renegotiate NAFTA were just campaign rhetoric.

In the Ohio and Pennsylvania Democratic Party primaries, candidate Obama had pledged to renegotiate NAFTA as part of his appeal to Ohio and Pennsylvania workers who have lost manufacturing jobs under the free trade agreements negotiated by Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush.

Now, Goolsbee is back in the White House, having taken a leave of absence from the University of Chicago. Obama appointed him to serve as chief economist and staff director of the newly created Presidential Economic Recovery Advisory Board, chaired by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volker.

Obama also appointed Goolsbee to the Council of Economic Advisors, or CEA, which is charged with assisting in the development of White House economic policy.