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Mexico president’s can-do image is put to the test

Protesting public school teachers from Oaxacstate talk outside their tent installed capital's maZocalo plazMexico City Friday Aug. 30 2013. Teachers'

Protesting public school teachers from Oaxaca state talk outside their tent installed in the capital's main Zocalo plaza in Mexico City, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Teachers' protests that have snarled traffic, blocked government buildings and caused the cancellation of sports events in Mexico City have prompted President Enrique Pena Nieto to change the date of his state-of-the-union address. The signs read in Spanish "We fight against structural, energetic, educative and fiscal reforms," and "Mexico doesn't have a president." (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — President Enrique Pena Nieto came to power Dec. 1 with a swagger.

He promised a new Mexico, an economic powerhouse far from its image as a violence-torn land overrun by drug traffickers. He passed radical reforms for education and telecommunications and proposed more for energy and taxes.

But nine months later, as Pena Nieto prepares to give his first state of the nation address on Monday, the new Mexico still looks a lot like the old one. Economic growth projections have been cut and the streets are clogged with anti-reform protesters, who have forced the president to change the date and location of Monday’s speech.

After 12 years out of office, his party is encountering a more complicated, democratic country than the one it ran for 71 years.

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