Obama To Deliver Speech To British Parliament
MARY LOUISE KELLY, Host:
Well, NPR's Scott Horsley is traveling with the president. Good morning, Scott.
SCOTT HORSLEY: Good morning, Mary Louise.
LOUISE KELLY: So it sounds as if so far the president and Queen Elizabeth are getting along famously.
HORSLEY: Mary Louise, yesterday we heard from one of those unnamed palace spokesman about the queen's relationship with the Obamas. He said - and I quote - there is genuine, genuine - and I really mean this - a genuine warmth between the two families.
LOUISE KELLY: Well, so that's his meetings with the queen. Has he had any chance on this visit to interact with ordinary Britons?
HORSLEY: Well, not a great deal. It wasn't like Ireland, where he shook a lot of hands and signed a lot of autographs. People did line up on the streets here to watch his motorcade pass by, but most of the day yesterday was in these formal settings. He and the prime minister did sneak off to a school yesterday afternoon, though, a sort of British charter school, and they did get to meet with some students. And they even played a little ping-pong. They were given a sound beating at the hand of a couple of 16-year-olds.
LOUISE KELLY: So tell us more about what's on the agenda for today and the speech to parliament. We mentioned that this is expected to be the centerpiece of his trip. What's the message going to be for Britain and for the rest of Europe?
HORSLEY: We've seen that in the way President Obama has approached Libya, insisting that NATO and not the United States take the lead. Here's Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes.
BEN RHODES: There's a lot of talk about other emerging powers, and that talk, you know, leads to questions as to whether or not the United States and Europe are going to continue to play the role in the world that they have as world leaders. But I think if you look at it, there is no other alliance that assumes the burdens that we assume on behalf of peace and security and that invest as much as we do in enforcement of international law and in global development.
HORSLEY: And that's a message that the president will continue to carry to other European leaders when he attends the G-8 Summit in France, starting tomorrow, and then later in the week when he meets with central European leaders in Poland.
LOUISE KELLY: And just wrapping up the trip today in Britain - he's also sitting down with Prime Minister Cameron. Yesterday, you mentioned they were playing table tennis. Safe to assume they're moving on to more weighty matters of state today.
HORSLEY: And then there's the two men's approach to their own domestic economies. Prime Minister Cameron has pushed tough austerity measures here in Britain. The Obama administration also says it's committed to deficit reduction, but that it doesn't want to sacrifice the nascent economic recovery.
LOUISE KELLY: All right. That's NPR's Scott Horsley, who's traveling with the president on his European tour. Thanks very much, Scott.
HORSLEY: Good to talk with my, Mary Louise.
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