Following the wide-ranging discussion in the Oval office Saturday afternoon—which touched on the global economy, biofuel, and development—Obama said he was a "great admirer of progressive, forward-looking leadership that President Lula has shown throughout Latin America and throughout the world."
The meeting was a chance for the leaders to discuss the economy in advance of next month's G20 meeting in London, and Obama said that in the next days and weeks there will be additional meetings between Brazilian and U.S. officials.
By stressing reform in his remarks today, Obama seemed to accept that his push, along with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, to have the G20 nations commit to increased stimulus spending was likely to fail:
"Not every country is going to do the same levels," said Obama. "I think it would be useful if we have a international body that is...accounting for how much stimulus is taking place out there," Obama said. But as I've said here in this country, and I will repeat in the G20, fiscal stimulus is only one leg in the stool. We have to do financial regulation, and nobody is going to be a more vigorous promoter of the need for a reform of our financial systems."
A communication issued by the G20 today made no commitment to increased stimulus spending.
Obama also again touted the longterm prospects of the American market in general, and Treasury notes in particular, saying, "I think not just the Chinese government, but every investor, can have absolute confidence in the soundness of investments in the United States. And that is not just in U.S.-issued Treasury notes, but also in the private sector and the commerce and the industry that has made this the most dynamic economy in the world."
Returning to his meeting with da Silva, Obama also said that he wanted America to follow Brazil's lead in developing cleaner sources of energy, though he acknowledged tensions over ethanol, of which the U.S. and Brazil are the world's two largest producers .
"It's not going to change overnight, but I do think that as we continue bold exchanges of ideas, commerce (and) trade around the issue of biodiesel that, over time, this source of tension can get resolved," Obama said.