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Will outgoing President Calderón be remembered for more than Mexico's violence? (+video)

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But lately the winds seem to be shifting, as Calderón gets ready to hand the presidency to Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

Calderón’s latest approval rating measured by the firm Buendía & Laredo, at 64 percent, is not among the highest in Mexico or Latin America for outgoing presidents. But it’s far ahead of the low 50s he was garnering in previous polls. Hopeful headlines about Mexico are emerging: The Financial Times asked in August “Is Mexico the new Brazil?” The Economist’s special section on Mexico this month is just as optimistic. Ask any economist and they all agree that Mexico, at the macroeconomic level, has done it all right, a message Calderón is furiously trying to communicate as he steps down.

At a September talk at the Council on Foreign Relations, Calderón told the crowd that in his first inaugural speech, “I said that we could transform Mexico into a more prosperous nation with a dynamic and competitive economy,” he said. “I was convinced, as I am now, that we could transform Mexico into a safer nation with a strong rule of law. I can tell you today that we have made great strides and have put Mexico on track to making this vision a reality.”

The 'jobs president'

In the sunny offices of Ernesto Acevedo, in Mexico’s Ministry of Economy, the top government official lists what he considers Calderón's successes on the economic front. Average annual inflation, Dr. Acevedo says, is at historic lows. Debt as a percent of GDP is in check, especially compared to other OECD countries.

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