February 19th, 2009
03:47 PM ET

Canada hearts Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/19/obama.canada/art.obama.canada.cnn.jpg]

Ed Henry
CNN Senior White House Correspondent

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.

soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. kelly

    I was pleased to see President Obama met with such positivity on his visit here to Canada. It is quite refreshing considering the worlds dislike of President Bush. It was also quite surprising to see the turn out when we do not celebritize our politians, so good for him! I would just like to say that I think President Obama is a smart, well rounded person and i think he will do wonderful things for the United States but people need to be patient and give him a chance. How can people possibly expect him to undo 8 years of damage in a few months? Good Luck Mr. President, we are all rooting for you to succeed up here in Canada!!

    February 20, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  2. Helen, Reading, UK

    Hey there Ed! So I guess you've had to pack those board shorts away for a while, huh? Seeing the Canadian reaction to the visit of the President makes me wonder what the British will do when he comes over this side of the pond. I mean, we were all genuinely excited when he was elected, I even shed a tear or two, but we like to maintain that stiff upper lip tradition, ha, ha! Ed, can I just say that I love watching you on AC360, just that cute little grin of yours that you can't quite suppress when The Coop hands over makes me chuckle every time! Keep up the good work, hope to see you here with the Prez soon x x

    February 20, 2009 at 7:30 am |
  3. Paul

    Hey America,You guys got it right this time and now that the circus has left town...aka G.B. administration,i think you can get the respect your country rightly deserves.As Canadians i think we always respected you as our allies and neighbours,Our big brother south of the border,it was G.B.'S administration we didnt respect!!!.........Good Job there guys!!

    February 20, 2009 at 2:22 am |
  4. Jeff from B.C.

    ...oh, and I could add a better education system (according to OEDC studies), a lower crime rate, a lower unemployment rate...and we didn't let our right-wing politicians dismantle our banking regulations to allow for a sub-prime mortgage fiasco.

    Maybe you'd rather become our 11th province?

    February 20, 2009 at 2:15 am |
  5. Alec

    Your "reporting from" box had your 360 news guy whozit located in OTTOWA [sic], Canada. One would think CNN would get the spelling of Ottawa correct, but then you are Americans, generally fairly unknowledgeable about us folks north of the 49th parallel.

    Some say there is no question in the United States government to which "Canada" is the answer. Well, the exception to that may be energy, as in "What country is the top exporter of oil to the United States?"

    Canada is the largest exporter of oil to the US at 2.5 million barrels of petroleum per day. Saudi Arabia follows at 1.5 million. Figures are from the US government's Energy Information Administration.

    In addition, Canada provides the US with 94% of its natural gas imports, and enormous amounts of electricity.

    Seems worthwhile to know a little more about your best trading neighbour, eh?

    February 20, 2009 at 2:13 am |
  6. Cailtlin Wright

    It does sound like Obama could be popular enough to be President of both countries – maybe he ought to ask Canada if they would like to be our 51st state?

    Wow, this is why people around the world slag Americans. Let's ignore another countries sovereignty, or just appreciate that the world isn't marching against our leader...instead how can we benefit from this....I just might end up staying here....in Canada.

    From an embarrassed American

    February 20, 2009 at 1:53 am |
  7. Jeff from B.C.

    Your president is certainly a welcome relief from the previous administration. But although we like Obama, we have no interest in becoming your 51st state. We have universal health care, a positive balance of payments in trade, balanced budgets, a mature attitude towards gay marriage, more rational laws concerning marijuana, better infrastructure, a more rational approach to the environment and global warming, better relations with the rest of the world as peacekeepers rather than warmongers, better race relations, fewer people living in the streets...and Sarah Palin would be laughed off the stage if she ran for office here.

    In other words, Canada has fulfilled the American dream even when American hasn't, and we don't spend our time arrogantly bragging to the rest of the world about how "we're number 1". We generally like American people very much, but from our perspective, you're our slightly retarded southern cousins. Join America? No thanks!

    February 20, 2009 at 1:52 am |
  8. S.Enns

    Tell me I need to clean my glass, but I would swear that during your coverage of President Obama's visit the caption showed the report and pictures coming form "Ottowa," Canada.
    If I had made this spelling mistake I would be very embarrassed. Coming from a world news station it is inexcusable!

    February 20, 2009 at 1:42 am |
  9. B Burns

    CNN spelled Ottawa wrong on screen on the live report during AC360. Shameful, we are your closest trading partner and alliance, at least spell the name of our capital properly. Ottowa is incorrect.

    February 20, 2009 at 1:40 am |
  10. steve rodriguez

    Larry King, Anderson Cooper and CNN are all sell-outs for Obama.
    I would be very surprised if you post this! American freedom of speech!

    February 20, 2009 at 12:14 am |
  11. Bev

    You looked so cute eating that Canadian "Beaver Tail" Ed!! I think that is an Ottawa delicacy of sorts – we sure don't have anything like that out on the west coast of Canada. The beaver is one of our national symbols and is featured on our nickel coins.

    It was great seeing the President in our nation's capital today – wish he could have stayed longer. He seemed genuinely interested in our country and certainly spoke more intelligently about us than his predecessor ever did. It is wonderful that the US finally has a president it can be proud of. Hopefully he will be able to bring back the lost respect that the world has so sadly had for your country. God bless America and Canada! – Bev in Surrey, BC, CANADA

    February 20, 2009 at 12:11 am |
  12. robyncaffrey keyser westvirginia

    all i can say "' ive been watching cnn 24 – 7 since november
    4 th ,
    and today i had so many joyfu'll tears when' mr president '
    was buying a snow-globe and a key chain for his kids . never in my life did a president ever show somuch lauillty to his kids
    and the respect for his wife by doing so,on his far away trip )

    i know good is gonna come out of everystate, ( remember ) anything and everything is possible

    on january 12th ' when he was on a train going to cumberland, him and bidin walked to the back platform of the train ,waiving to all the people as they were passing through
    ( and after the press confrence was done , him and his wife walked in the croud shaking everybodys hand.

    the night of the ignaguation , him and his wife greeted everybody'
    'they stayed up all that night celebrating with with the pulic

    him and his wife make alot of visits to schools,

    they take time with the classrooms kids ,

    they have the white house opend up so' the public can visit

    him and his wife host partys + dinners with his work staff

    now the white house has late nights

    his wife eaven had visits with 6th &7th graders at the white house

    mr president got cnn to open up for anybody to go on broacast
    and now u can send i reports to cnn

    now with" all the video's and pictures , they can really
    attend to every alert faster.
    dont know if ya's knew it " but most of the videos showed more of when the plane crashed.

    and for all the stress and worries that the rebulicans put on his shoulders , to pass that stimulus. in the coming months and years , mr president " can say : ( i told you's this econemy will pick up.

    with all the technoligy that's out there now, and the ireports
    can find more cures, more exrays ( faster solutions for safer contruction with roads and bridges and faster and safer tunnles and can be alerted faster on desassters when bad weather strikes . we will soon have cheaper power and energy.

    yes we can

    February 20, 2009 at 12:03 am |
  13. Len, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

    Nice to see the multi-culturism in Canada – Black-White-Asian-Native all come downtown from all parts of Canada to get their glimpse! Yes, our country has had two consecutive non-white Governors General, the latter being Haitian born Michaele Jean, which compliments our diversity and understanding that leaders can come from all walks and races.

    Oh, and to see CNN scroll "Ottowa" instead of "Ottawa" on the ticker had me in shock! Ed, maybe you can tell your readers that "this snowy capital city" is Ottawa – re-interview the US Embassy Official and give Americans a clear idea of how proud we are of our capital as many are of Washington, DC. That way, when President Obama returns for a State Visit, your readership will be acquainted with our host venue.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:57 pm |
  14. BP

    President Obama has a lot to fix from the former cabinet and president. I agree. You're very welcome the people of Canada.........

    I wonder what some of the other countries think of our new president.....

    Also is Canada having a financial depression like the U.S. ? If so just how bad is it ???

    February 19, 2009 at 11:56 pm |
  15. Vera-Montréal,Qc

    There is no doubt Canadians LOVE President Obama. In Québec we know what it is like to be different...yet make things happen. I trust that President Obama will be able to make a significant change in the US ...as would a REAL leader in Canada. I really enjoyed watching Michaelle Jean (governor general of Canada) greet the President. Their intelligence goes beyond color, race or sex! Let us all stop judging the abilities of the President and lend him a hand. "L'unité fait la force!" Americans could actually learn something from our universal health plan and social security programs.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:49 pm |
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