Brown gets helping hand from Obama
He loves the Queen and the British people. Truth be told, President Obama was always going to be a hit on his first overseas trip.
But Gordon Brown probably could not believe his luck. The prime minister just could not stop grinning as he stood next to the new president at a news conference in the Foreign Office ahead of the G20 summit.
He must have always been hoping for a bit of the Obama magic to rub off on him and revive his battered ratings but he can’t have expected the ringing endorsement he got.
Tony Blair and George W Bush. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Britain has always liked to make much of the special relationship between it and America and any doubts it was in danger under Obama could be put to rest this week.
Obama looked on intently as Brown made his opening statement, referring to him by title.
But the formality dropped as soon as it was Obama’s turn, as he thanked his hosts “Gordon and Sarah” and said he had been discussing dinosaurs with their two sons.
The United States and United Kingdom have always stuck together, he said. That’s why he was pleased that his first overseas trip was to visit Brown.
Brown’s face immediately lit up. Soon he was calling the president “Barack”, joking that he was keen to introduce him to
his friends in the British press.
Even a question about Brown’s regular remark that the crisis was made in America passed without a hitch, as Obama readily accepted the United States had to share some of the blame.
Asked what advice he would give to Brown on winning an election, Obama said: “The only advice I would give him Gordon is the same advice I gave myself — good policies are good politics.”
But the presidential hand on Brown’s back as the two men left the podium may be the biggest helping hand of all.