in the Oval Office of the White House.
(White House photo 3/3/09 by Pete Souza)
Did you see this piece over the weekend by Tim Shipman for the Telegraph about Barack Obama ‘too tired’ to give proper welcome to Gordon Brown? Apparently, the White House and US State Department staff were “utterly bemused by complaints that the Prime Minister should have been granted full-blown press conference and a formal dinner, as has been customary.”
As pointed out elsewhere Tony Blair was invited to Camp David for dinner, had an overnight stay (at the Lincoln bedroom?), had lunch, and get this — more than four hours of talks for his first tete-a-tete with George W. in 2001. Fast forward 2009 and President Obama and Mr. Brown had a half-hour meeting and a working lunch!
That’s not the one that almost made me choke on my bagel but this one:
“The real views of many in Obama administration were laid bare by a State Department official involved in planning the Brown visit, who reacted with fury when questioned by The Sunday Telegraph about why the event was so low-key. The official dismissed any notion of the special relationship, saying: “There’s nothing special about Britain. You’re just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn’t expect special treatment.”
Holy mother of goat! Oh! My! My! Golly!
That State Department official is new in this gig, hmmn? Quick, get the duct tape! Must not open mouth again until said person has undergone the following intensive courses with one-on-one simulations at FSI: “How to Keep Your Cool When Questioned by Mainstream Media on Foreign Official Visit” and “How to Speak Delicately About Special Relationships and Other Matters and Still Keep Your Friends.”
For those who were concerned about the special relationship, the full text of the Obama-Brown remarks after their meeting is here.