WACO, Texas -- After a day of diplomacy that pulled his attention from Mexico to Iraq and back again, President Bush retreated to the sanctuary of his West Texas ranch.
Bush flew here Friday night to spend the Presidents Day weekend at his ranch, located just outside nearby Crawford. It was his first stay at the ranch since he took office in January; his plan was to be there all weekend, emerging Monday for more travels to promote his tax cut proposal.
The president spent Friday with President Vicente Fox of Mexico, talking about energy, trade, immigration and drug interdiction in a low-key meeting at Fox's ranch in the central Mexican farming community of San Cristobal.
"Mexico is the first foreign country I have visited as president, and I intended it to be that way," Bush said. "We are welcoming a new day in the relationship between America and Mexico. Each nation has a new president and a new perspective. Geography has made us neighbors; cooperation and respect will make us partners."
Bush visited Fox's mother, and -- with a thumbs-down at a dominant crop on the Fox ranch -- declared he shares the dislike for broccoli voiced by his father, the former president.
The president heaped praise on Fox as "the kind of man you can look in the eye and know he is shooting straight with you." He said he felt Mexico deserves some relief from the annual review certifying certain countries' cooperation in fighting drugs, and would tell Congress that.
"I believe there is a movement in the country to review all the certification process," Bush said. "I firmly believe that President Fox will do everything in his power to root out the drug lords and to halt drug trafficking as best as he possibly can."
In shirt sleeves and open collars, Bush at times spoke in heavily accented Spanish, Fox in fluent English, to symbolize the warm relationship they hope to build. As Bush prepared to leave, he was escorted to Air Force One by Fox and his son; they went on board with Bush for a tour.
The leaders declared their meeting a success, if for no other reason than the expectations were set so low.
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