America has a "special relationship" with Britain. Its largest trading partner is Canada. And China its biggest rival.
But as Mexican President Felipe Calderon arrives for a State visit this morning, the White House says "there is no more important relationship for the United States."
It's also perhaps the most complex. A 2,000 mile border across which billions of dollars in trade flows - but also drugs, weapons and illegal immigrants.
President Obama and Calderon have discussed all this before - this will be their fourth bilateral meeting in just a year-and-a-half - but what's new now is that controversial law in Arizona that cracks down on those illegals.
Calderón will tell Obama, obviously, that he opposes the Arizona law - as does Obama. But you won't hear him say that the issue is a personal one, since he has relatives in the U.S. - some of whom came here illegally.
As for the drug trade - a staple of chats between Mexican and American Presidents for decades - Obama and Calderon are sympatico, but there appears to be a perception in Mexico that Calderon is cracking down too hard, and a perception here that Obama isn't doing enough to stench the flow of drugs - or illegals.
The two men will see each other often today. After the welcoming ceremony on the South Lawn - a full-blown affair with all the ruffles and flourishes - the Presidents will meet in the Oval Office and hold a Rose Garden news conference. And tonight, a gala State Dinner, just the second of Obama's Presidency.
You may remember what happened at the first State Dinner one back in November: two people walked in, uninvited and mingled with guests - even meeting the President himself. The faux pas cost then-White House social secretary Desiree Rogers her job. Asked Monday whether the White House was confident thus wouldn't happen again, press secretary Robert Gibbs said: "We are."
8:30AM In-Town Travel Pool Call Time
9:30AM THE PRESIDENT, THE VICE PRESIDENT, THE FIRST LADY, and DR. BIDEN welcome President Calderón and Mrs. Zavala to the White House
Open Press (Pre-set 6:30AM – Final Gather 8:30AM – North Doors of the Palm Room)
10:30AM THE PRESIDENT holds a bilateral meeting with President Calderón
10:55AM THE PRESIDENT holds an expanded bilateral meeting with President Calderón and Official U.S. and Official Mexican Delegations
11:50AM THE PRESIDENT and President Calderón hold a joint press conference
Open Press (Pre-set 10:50AM – Final Gather 11:20AM – North Doors of the Palm Room)
3:30PM THE PRESIDENT meets with Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Lou Susman
4:15PM THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT meets with Secretary of State Clinton
6:00PM THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY welcome President Calderón and Mrs. Zavala
Open Press (Pre-set 5:00PM – Final Gather 5:30PM – North Doors of the Palm Room)
6:30PM THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY take official photo with President Calderón and Mrs. Zavala
Pooled Press (No pre-set, Final Call 6:10PM--North Doors of the Palm Room)
7:10PM THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY attend the State Dinner with President Calderón and Mrs. Zavala; THE PRESIDENT and President Calderón will each deliver a toast
Pooled Press for toasts by President Obama and President Calderón (No pre-set, Final Call 6:40PM--North Doors of the Palm Room)
8:30PM THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY attend the State Dinner Reception with President Calderón and Mrs. Zavala
Pooled Press (No Pre-set, Final Call 8:05PM--North doors of the Palm Room)
On This Day
1962 - Marilyn Monroe performed a sultry rendition of "Happy Birthday" for President Kennedy at New York's Madison Square Garden.
Nothing brings out the lower traits of human nature like office seeking." - Rutherford B. Hayes