México has a new president; over the weekend Enrique Peña Nieto was sworn in. Next January 20th, Barak Hussein Obama will be sworn in for his second and last term as president of the United States. A new era begins for the two neighboring countries, México and the United States.  

My eyes became wide open when word got out that the one-on-one meeting between President-Elect Peña Nieto and President Obama would only last 15 minutes. This was hardly a great sign of a friendly neighborly meeting. Of course everyone in the communication offices of the two parties scrambled to explain; yet there was an unsettling feeling this was not a great start. If in fact this was just a meet and greet meeting where the two parties would shake hands, take a photo, exchange pleasantries and promise to have a real conversation about the real issues facing the two countries later on, then I hope it was worth for our neighbor to the south the tremendous logistical effort and expense such a trip entailed

Negotiating is a tough and arduous task; it is not for the faint of heart, and maybe that is why the President doesn’t seem interested in reaching out

- Rosario Marin, Former U.S. Treasurer

If the relationship between México and the United States is to be strengthened, I hope the next meeting happens immediately after President Obama gets sworn-in. And both parties can have serious discussions which lead to meaningful decisions about trade, immigration and border security just to name a few.

Juxtapose that with the over-an-hour meeting that took place between President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney just two days after that 15-minute meeting. I understand the president had made a promise to meet with the governor during his election night speech, but seriously, what could the Governor do for the President now? For that matter, what could the Governor do for the country? Don’t take me wrong; he is an honorable man and one I was proud to support, but it is going to be a long time before he commands the listening ears of Americans.

I am all too familiar with the scheduling challenges of the President, but I do wonder what his priorities are. Why hasn’t the President met with Speaker John Boehner, or Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Congressman Eric Cantor or even Paul Ryan? Wouldn’t it make more sense to meet with the elected representatives and hash out a compromise to prevent going down the fiscal cliff?

Negotiating is a tough and arduous task; it is not for the faint of heart, and maybe that is why the President doesn’t seem interested in reaching out to them, but that is what a real leader does. It seems to me that it would be far more productive and effective to sit down with them and develop a blueprint for a plan to deal with our most pressing fiscal issues.

Mr. President you were reelected, you are the leader of this country and of the free world. Take the lead now; otherwise you will in fact take us all down the cliff.

Rosario Marin was the 41st Treasurer of the United States and is co-chair of the American Competitiveness Alliance.

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