PALM DESERT, Calif. -

Back when he was a California Highway Patrol officer, Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit shook hands with former president Ronald Reagan.

Benoit says he likely won't get that close to President Barack Obama, but he says it's a remarkable step to have him and Chinese President Xi JinPing in the desert.
     
"To have the president of the United States meet the president of China here is newsworthy around the world," said Benoit.

The supervisor says we won't expect to see the two presidents hitting the casinos, but he hopes their meeting at Sunnylands will be productive.

"One of the real values of Sunnylands is it's not in the public's eye. They can interact socially freely, casually, that's the purpose of Sunnylands."

We wanted to know, if neighbors had the chance, what would they ask or tell Mr. Obama?

"It'd be interesting to see what he's thinking as far as education goes," said Chloe Myers, who was at Palm Desert Civic Park.

Benoit said, "If I would see him, I'd say 'thank you for visiting, hope you'll make it a regular stop.'"

Tatiana Flexman, of Corona, said she would wish him "Good luck, it's really hot."

Benoit said this trip will help set the tone for the future.

"I believe it's the beginning of a number of these types of visits, which is very positive for the Valley."