It's a popular topic at the White House briefing these days - is President Obama still taking a trip to South America set to begin Friday?

Press Secretary Jay Carney says the trip is on, even with a variety of international affairs that seem to demand a lot of attention from the president like the earthquake and tsunami aftermath in Japan which includes a potential nuclear meltdown and on-going issues in the Middle East.

"We are leaving on schedule on Friday. It bears repeating that this is a crisis -- there is no question about it. And it is a crisis in Japan. It is not a crisis in the United States," Carney said Wednesday.

"We are very concerned about our allies and friends, the Japanese. We are doing everything we can to help and assist them. We are very concerned about the safety and security of American citizens in Japan, and we are doing everything we can to ensure their safety. But it is -- we have no plans to change the trip."

The idea of postponing or cancelling a trip is not new at the White House. Last year a trip to Australia and Indonesia was postponed once because of the health care vote on the Hill and a second time because of the BP oil spill in the gulf. When the president eventually did go on the trip, Australia didn't make it on the itinerary.

Still, the insistence the trip is still on by Carney hasn't stopped the questions.

"Is it under consideration, a postponement?" asked NBC's Mike Viquera Wednesday.

"No, I mean, somebody asked me yesterday, could an event occur that would cause you to postpone a trip? That's like asking could an asteroid fall from the sky."