Washington (CNN) - Mexican President Felipe Calderon addressed two of America's most contentious political issues during a speech to the U.S. Congress Thursday, asking for a return of the assault weapons ban and blasting Arizona's controversial new immigration law as a "terrible" endorsement of racial profiling.
Calderon also reminded Americans of their role in the recent eruption of drug-fueled violence along the U.S.-Mexican border, noting the high demand for illegal drugs in the United States. At the same time, he highlighted a series of economic reforms undertaken by his administration, arguing that they are helping to position Mexico for a period of greater growth and social stability.
"Mexico and the United States are stronger together than they are apart," he told a joint meeting of Congress. "Our economic ties have made both economies stronger. ... A stronger Mexico means a stronger United States."
Washington (CNN) - U.S. diplomacy toward Mexico was fueled Wednesday by sea trout, lemon meringue pie and hibiscus iced tea.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice-President Joe Biden hosted the lunch for Mexican President Calderon at the State Department.
The top floor Benjamin Franklin reception room was filled with tables covered with red tablecloths, gold-rimmed glasses and gold and white china. Some tables held large green ceramic pineapples with pots of pink and white flowers. Waiters had carefully placed hibiscus blossoms in each glass of ice tea.
In opening remarks, Clinton said "the United States is proud to be Mexico's friend, partner and neighbor."
(CNN) - Politically sensitive issues such as immigration, border security, drug trafficking and trade took center stage in Washington on Wednesday as President Barack Obama welcomed his Mexican counterpart, Felipe Calderon, to the White House.
Both leaders used the occasion - the fourth time they have met for bilateral talks - to take sharp aim at Arizona's controversial new law meant to crack down on illegal immigrants. Calderon characterized the measure as discriminatory; Obama called it a "misdirected expression of frustration."
The leaders criticized the law while meeting with reporters shortly after Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rolled out the red carpet for Calderon in a formal White House arrival ceremony.
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and Mexican first lady Margarita Zavala joined their husbands for the occasion, which was to be followed by a state dinner Wednesday night. Calderon is to address a joint session of Congress on Thursday.
"Our progress today marks another step forward in a new era of cooperation and partnership between our countries, a partnership based on mutual interests, mutual respect and mutual responsibility," Obama said.
Calderon said that the United States and Mexico now face a series of common challenges, including climate change and organized crime - a rising threat to border stability.
Updated: 3:47 p.m.