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Viewing cable 06MEXICO255, I'M GOING TO WIN" PAN CANDIDATE FELIPE CALDERON TELLS AMBASSADOR

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MEXICO255 2006-01-18 22:10 2011-02-21 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Mexico
Appears in these articles:
http://wikileaks.jornada.com.mx/notas/calderon-se-pronunciara-contra-muro-para-que-ni-un-voto-a-amlo
R 182237Z JAN 06
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8352
INFO ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L MEXICO 000255 

USAID FOR DAA/LAC MIKE MAGAN 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/12/2016 
TAGS: MX PGOV PREL
SUBJECT: "I'M GOING TO WIN" PAN CANDIDATE FELIPE CALDERON TELLS AMBASSADOR 

Classified By: Classified by Amb. Antonio O. Garza, Jr., Reasons: 1.4 ( B/D) 

1. (C) Summary: A confident Felipe Calderon and key campaign advisors Ernesto Cordero and Josefina Vasquez Mota told the Ambassador January 10 that recent polls showed Calderon slightly ahead of Democratic Revolution (PRD) candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO). The National Action Party candidate expressed concern about the perceived worsening of U.S.-Mexico relations, and warned that migration differences would inevitably enter into the election debate. Calderon and his team were interested in -- and apparently previously unaware of -- both USAID programs and law enforcement initiatives between the U.S. and Mexico. Calderon demonstrated once again that he shares our point of view on everything ranging from migration to competitiveness to border security. In contrast to his Institutional Revolution (PRI) counterpart Roberto Madrazo (septel), Calderon didn't bring any PAN party leaders with him, and was entirely focused on his own race. End Summary. 

"I'm Going to Win" 

2. (C) The Ambassador, accompanied by the political and public affairs ministers-counselor, the chief of USAID, the Legat, and poloff (notetaker), hosted Calderon and his team for breakfast January 10 in the first of three sessions with the leading presidential contenders. Calderon arrived slightly late after a meeting with President Fox, and moved right to business. Calderon noted that a recent door-to-door poll of 33,000 Mexicans (conducted by PAN pollster Rafael Jimenez of ARCOP) gave him a two point lead over AMLO, and a five point lead over Madrazo. Calderon said he had hoped to start the campaign season (which officially launches January 19) slightly below the other contenders. This was a great boost. "I'm going to win," Calderon said easily. 

Migration as Politics 

3. (C) Calderon noted that there was a deterioration in the U.S.-Mexico relationship, then agreed it could simply be a perception that relations were more difficult because of the controversy over migration, and specifically the Sensenbrenner bill coupled with a recent migrant shooting along the border near Tijuana. The negative spin on migration in the Mexican press clearly hurt the Fox administration and by extension, Calderon noted, his own campaign. He couldn't allow AMLO to take one vote on the migration issue, and would have to speak out against a "border wall" as well. The Ambassador clarified a few points about the bill, but noted that Calderon had already taken the right tack by stressing that Mexico needed to build opportunities here so citizens wouldn't have to look at migration as their source of hope. Certainly it was politic to reject the border fence, but that was not a solution. Solutions involved fixing the problems that spurred migration. Calderon agreed, and stressed again it was not his intent to inflame the debate, but to reframe it in constructive terms. Turning to specifics he was very interested in the possible timing of any migration reform that might be considered by the U.S. Congress. He was also perplexed that, after all the debate of a year ago over pepperguns, it appeared they weren't being used by the Border Patrol in the area north of Tijuana. 

The Cooperative Relationship 

4. (C) To demonstrate the range of excellent cooperation between Mexico and the U.S., the Ambassador asked the USAID director to brief on key programs. Both Calderon and Vasquez Mota seemed surprised and impressed by the range of USAID activities, taking special note of AID's programs on justice system reforms, competitiveness studies, and local government access to capital markets. Vasquez Mota said she would follow up with AID's office at a later point in time regarding those programs. Calderon said his number one agenda item is enforcing the rule of law and making Mexico a safer country. He listened intently to a presentation by the Legal Attache on U.S. programs to combat border violence and to track Special Interest Aliens (SIA) in Mexico, and followed-up with questions about drug-trafficking and improved methods for searching vehicles crossing the border.Q The Campaign Ahead 

5. (C) Comment: Calderon met with the Ambassador just a day after adding former Secretary of Development Vasquez Mota to his campaign team, a move which caused certain dissension with Los Pinos over the designation of Vazquez Mota's successor. It was also the day before Calderon's formal registration as the PAN presidential candidate. Calderon and his team made clear they hoped to be in touch during the campaign, would provide continuity in all the key U.S. initiatives underway with Mexico, and would address our concerns regarding reform, border security, and competitiveness -- which is no surprise. Unlike PRI candidate Madrazo (septel), Calderon came without any party leaders in his wake, and was focused on his own campaign and platform rather than the entire PAN ticket for Congress, state governors, etc. Calderon was also clearly relieved that the "political truce" had apparently not cost him the popular momentum he was starting to build just before the Federal Electoral Institute called a halt to campaigning right before Christmas. Calderon's challenges will include consolidating the support of his party, reaching out to disaffected youth and other uncommitted voters, and keeping his momentum building during the long campaign ahead. 

6. (U) Visit Mexico City's election blog at http://blogs.csp.sgov.gov/blojsom/blog/ mexicoelect06/ 
Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity 
GARZA