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Obama shows the way

  Stuartli 11:24 01 Apr 2009
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Just been watching the Obama and Brown Press conference on Sky News and been struck by the sharp contrast between them.

Obama, despite having been in office as President for only a few weeks, came across as relaxed, assured and able to comment off the cuff with ease.

In contrast, Brown gazed with apparent awe at the President, in the manner of an eager puppy waiting for its master's commands and then speaking in a somewhat robotic fashion whenever issuing seemingly much rehearsed sound bites (most of which we've heard before).

No wonder the Americans took to Blair so readily, even though his stock gradually began to fall in the UK amongst much of the electorate.

  Quickbeam 11:50 01 Apr 2009

The difference is that Obama is the most powerful man in the world... and he knows it.

  spuds 00:08 02 Apr 2009

There was a Obama documentary on television recently, which gave an insight to a real smart and shrewd person who had experienced both sides of the fence when he was growing up, which will be a great thing in the role he as to do.

Our present prime minister and his followers,seems to be losing more credibility every day.

  Forum Editor 00:37 02 Apr 2009

is this habit some people have of downing our country at every opportunity.

President Obama looked relaxed because he was - he was away from home, on his first foreign visit since taking office, and is a guest here. He comments off the cuff with ease because he doesn't have the White House press pack to contend with, and because he's still basking somewhat in the afterglow of his election.

Gordon Brown is the host, and well aware of the fact that Obama chose him to be the first foreign leader visited in his own country - it's a status indicator, and Gordon is acutely conscious of it.

Don't forget that the current financial crisis owes its beginnings to American ineptitudes in the sub-prime markets. Obama knows that, and as he has said 'nobody is to blame, but everyone's responsible'. He knows that we can only get out of the mire if we cooperate on a global scale.

Obama's a good man, I have no doubts about that, but whether that translates into being a good president remains to be seen.

  laurie53 08:16 02 Apr 2009

Gordon Brown has the final responsibility for keeping safe a man who many thousands, both home grown and international, actively wish to see dead.

That's enough to make anyone a bit edgy.

  Stuartli 10:20 02 Apr 2009

Funnily enough, Quentin Letts uses the same doggy term in his piece today on the meeting of the two minds:

click here

  bremner 10:47 02 Apr 2009

I was in the US in early 2008 when one of the major primaries was in full swing.

Obama / Clinton held a two hour TV debate and Clinton was relaxed spoke with clarity and confidence. Obama appeared ill at ease and spoke with far less fluidity and confidence.

I was back in the US in late August and could not believe the change in Obama. At ease, confident and a great speaker . Of course by then he had won the Democratic nomination and was clear favourite for the presidency.

Gordon Brown is a leader who has not won an election and it seems at this time unlikely to do so. He is being battered on all sides for many reasons and even in his pomp as Chancellor was never an exciting public speaker.

I think we would see a different GB if he were to win a general election as leader of the Labour party.

  oresome 19:04 02 Apr 2009

Obama, like Clinton and Blair comes across as a confident assured public speaker.

Whether this translates into being a good leader, time will tell.

Brown has never had the ability to talk naturally and connect with the audience. You always get the impression that whatever the question, the rehearsed answer will be the response whether it answers the question or not.

  Forum Editor 19:20 02 Apr 2009

I rather meant that Obama doesn't have the White House Press pack to contend with when he's speaking to our press and making off-the-cuff remarks. In Washington he would get a tougher ride.

The American president who was by far the best at handling press conferences - at least in recent times - was Bill Clinton. I once met a journalist who had a White House press accreditation, and she said that watching Clinton in front of the press corps was like watching a master craftsman at work - in her words 'He was a spellbinder, and a talented diplomat'

Obama shows great promise in the speaking department, but he needs polishing. That will come with experience, and from the White House speech-writers.

  Forum Editor 23:34 02 Apr 2009

is that he has the air of a man who isn't going to be easily deterred. Most presidents start off with a degree of fervour; they believe that the sheer authority conferred on them by the office of president of The United States of America is going to be enough, but sadly they're mistaken.

American presidents do have enormous executive power, it's true - a president can alone decide to commit awesome quantities of military might - but that isn't entirely what running a big, modern nation is all about. Presidents need to be able to touch hearts and minds, they need to imbue their fellow citizens with a sense of destiny, and when they can do it the results can be remarkable. John F Kennedy had the ability, and so, to a lesser extent did Bill Clinton. Both men were flawed, but that's not a bar to being a good president, if it was there would be no good presidents.

Obama might be one of these good presidents - he might even be a great president, only time will tell. If he's ground down by the Washington political machine, and doesn't have the personal resources with which to assert himself he'll end up as a time-server.

It will be interesting to watch his story unfold.

  Stuartli 00:06 03 Apr 2009

To my surprise, Ronald Reagan proved a far better US President than anyone would have given him credit when he first took office.

Just shows that you shouldn't judge people on appearance or, in this case, on celluloid success..:-)

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