(CNN) – President Obama arrived in this snowy capital city for his first foreign trip greeted by 17 Canadian mounties – and thousands of ordinary fans chanting a familiar campaign theme.
Chants of “Yes we can! Yes we can!” could be heard as thousands of Canadians lined the streets to greet Obama’s motorcade. One hand-made sign simply said, “After God, It’s Obama.”
The President seemed to bask in the adulation as he arrived at the Parliament building for a working lunch with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
After walking into Parliament, Obama coaxed Harper to come outside the building so the beaming President could wave to the adoring crowd – a sharp contrast from the hostile anti-war protests that used to greet former President Bush’s trips north.
One U.S. embassy official on the ground here passed along a bit of insight that may help explain the diplomatic love for Obama. The official confided that thousands of Canadians crossed the border into America last year to volunteer for the Democrat’s presidential campaign in border states.
But the lovefest will not last long. Obama will be staying on the ground here for just a few hours, not even long enough to have dinner and that was by design.
Two officials familiar with the planning for the trip tell CNN the President did not want a lavish dinner during his first foreign visit – not the right image while America is suffering through a recession.