05 March 2009

Did something go wrong at the White House?

The New York Times has posted this on it’s “The Caucus” blog.  Note the word unusual is used to describe the statement:

So will this end the chatter of whether President Obama did – or did not – offer a chilly reception to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown?

As Prime Minister Gordon Brown headed back to London after two days in Washington, the White House issued this unusual statement on Wednesday afternoon that laid out in significant detail how much Mr. Obama enjoyed his visit with Mr. Brown.

The President called Prime Minster Brown today at approximately 3 p.m. In a call that lasted about 10 minutes, the President congratulated the Prime Minister on his speech to Congress and expressed his appreciation for a very productive visit.

The President also thanked the Prime Minister for the gifts he presented to him: a pen holder carved from the timbers of the HMS Gannet, which was a sister ship of the HMS Resolute, and first edition biography of Winston Churchill. The president noted that the pen set is being displayed on the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office and the books are in the President’s personal study adjoining the Oval Office.

The President and the Prime Minister discussed that the First Lady and Mrs. Brown had a warm and personal visit, as well.

The President closed the conversation by stating that he looked forward to seeing the Prime Minister in London in early April.

Did No10 exert pressure for this statement to be issued?  Perhaps we will never know.

The White House and US thinking behind such a visit is best explained here and here.

Was it a cock up?  More likely it was misconceived expectations by No 10 that spun out of control.

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