By ABBY PHILLIP, writing for POLITICO
The crisis in Japan, the unresolved budget wars at home and continuing unrest in the Middle East have raised questions about whether President Obama will continue with business as usual on his trip to Latin America this weekend.
At a briefing with reporters on Tuesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said no plans have changed, global crises notwithstanding.
“Obviously, the trip is on, and the president will be going to Latin America, and he's looking forward to having discussions with leaders in the region about our bilateral relationship,” Carney said.
Carney insisted that Obama is “capable” of maintaining contact with Washington throughout the trip, and National Security Adviser Tom Donilon will be traveling with him as well.
Asked by The Wall Street Journal’s Laura Meckler whether it was “awkward” for Obama to go to Latin America while “the rest of the world is exploding,” Carney, a little piqued, dismissed the question.
“Laura, he's the president of the United States,” he said. “And there are major issues all the time that the president has to contend with, which is one of the reasons why he has such a substantial support framework around him when he travels.”
Carney took one more question about the possibility of an early return to the states, but he declined to play the guessing game. “If I could predict what could happen in the future, I'd be a rich man,” Carney said. “We watch everything when we travel just as we watch everything when we’re in house.”
Still, the White House has canceled Obama’s travel plans before for what it considered important domestic affairs. He twice postponed planned visits to Indonesia and Australia last year – first to oversee the passage of the health care bill, and a few months later as the BP oil leak grabbed the country’s attention.
[Carney doesn't seem to have the personality, IQ or patience for this job]