Tales from the Trail

Special Relationship? How quickly they forget….

So much for “Hilly-Milly”.

Just last year U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gushed to Vogue magazine about  former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband,  calling the young diplomat a dashing addition to the international scene. AFGHANISTAN/

“Well, if you saw him it would be a big crush. I mean, he is so vibrant, vital, attractive, smart. He’s really a good guy. And he’s so young!” Clinton said in remarks that provoked a spate of joking British tabloid headlines about the new “special relationship” between the United States and Britain.

Well, absence doesn’t appear to have made the heart grow any fonder. Asked on Wednesday if she had any advice for Miliband following his decision to bow out of frontline politics after losing a Labour Party leadership contest to his younger brother, Clinton was brief.

“I have no advice for anyone in politics. I’m out of politics. I obviously wish him well and I am very intrigued by the interesting political dynamics that are occuring inside the United Kingdom,” Clinton said, before launching into a positive assessment of the state of relations with Britain’s current government.

Asked again if she had any farewell words for Miliband, Clinton finally managed a few: “I enjoyed working with him and wish him well.”

Well isn’t that special! Clinton reassures Britain on its U.S. relationship

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It turns out the relationship between the United States and Britain is very special.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went to great lengths on Sunday to reassure Britons and their political leaders that the “special relationship” between the two allies is strong and intact.

Exhibit A: at a news conference with Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Clinton opened her remarks by stressing their strong relations.

from MacroScope:

Watch out for the G20 spin

Be careful this week about buying wholeheartedy into any G20-related spin about supposedly savvy, free-spending Britain and America doing more to combat the world economic crisis than supposedly stubborn, overly cautious Germany and France. The actual figures show it is much more complex than that.

A Reuters calculation on discretionary fiscal stumuli and the International Monetary Fund's assessment show that, if anything, Britain is the significant laggard and that German spending almost matches the United States over the next two years. Here are the IMF's numbers (% of GDP):

                                                          2009                     2010

McCain favors UK-style question time for U.S. president

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Republican presidential candidate John McCain says he would take a page from the British government if elected and hold question-and-answer sessions with lawmakers.

“I will ask Congress to grant me the privilege of coming before both houses to trtx5mdz.jpgake questions, and address criticism, much the same as the prime minister of Great Britain appears regularly before the House of Commons,” McCain told an audience Thursday.

Although U.S. presidents deliver annual “State of the Union” speeches to Congress at the start of each year, those formal addresses do not include a question-and-answer session.

Financial Times backs Obama in Democrats’ nominating battle

WASHINGTON – Britain’s Financial Times newspaper, which has bigger paid circulation in the United States than its home country, weighed into the bitter Democratic nominating contest– offering its endorsement to Sen. Barack Obama.rtr1zo49.jpg

The backing of the financial newspaper in Monday’s edition comes just a day before voters in Pennsylvania go to the polls, a state that could offer some salvation for his opponent Sen. Hillary Clinton, who has been clinging to a narrow lead in the state but trails in the delegate count. 

The FT points to Obama’s well-run campaign and cross-party appeal for putting him over the top of his rival. It also cites Clinton’s unpopularity and questions her campaign strategy, arguing it has been re-tooled several times.