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Obama Won't Apologize For CIA Role In Chile

President Obama today met with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who told Mr. Obama he is "an idol" in her country. In a bit of evidence supporting that assertion, members of the Chilean press asked the president for a group photo, a request the president granted. (That picture is at left.)

The event was not simply a love fest: Asked by a reporter if he wanted to apologize for CIA involvement in Chilean elections, Mr. Obama did not do so. (More on the CIA's ties to Chile here.)

"I'm interesting in going forward, not looking backward," the president said. "I think that the United States has been an enormous force for good in the world."

"I think there have been times where we've made mistakes, but I think that what is important is looking at what our policies are today and what my administration intends to do in cooperating with the region," added Mr. Obama.

At his joint appearance with Bachelet, which followed a private meeting, the president also announced a partnership with Chile on clean energy and science.

"There is enormous interest, both in the United States and in Chile, on how we can develop solar power and wind power, biofuels and a whole host of other clean energy strategies that will make the people of both countries more prosperous and less dependent on imported energy needs," he said. "So we are going to be starting a cooperative project in Chile on this issue."

"In addition, we think that there's tremendous possibilities for cooperation on science and technology," continued the president. "And so, a specific project that we've discussed is a cancer research center that can help us make progress on that deadly disease."

Bachelet said Chile had been working with the U.S. Centers For Disease Control on combating flu.

"Whatever is learned from Chile, we have good diagnostic capacities, good registration capacity, will be of help for future treatments here in the United States for vaccine use and so on," she said.

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