President Obama and First Lady Michelle Storm the Castle and London
The Dynamic Duo hit London Town and became an instant hit. President Obama is already very popular in the UK but the First Lady eclipsed his popularity. As one British journalist said, “Michelle is the rock star.”
The first stop was Buckingham Palace to meet Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Phillip where the British royalty couldn’t stop smiling. Michelle practically caused apoplexy among the British press when she put her arm on the Queen’s shoulder, who according to protocol, is not to be touched. However, it was quickly ascertained that the Queen first put her hand on the back of the First Lady, a rare gesture indeed.
The gift of an iPod loaded with videos and photos of her 2007 visit to Richmond, Jamestown and Williamsburg in Virginia, as well as a book signed by Richard Rogers was apparently well received by the Queen. She in turn gave the Obamas a signed photograph of her and the prince, the standard gift from Her Majesty.
After storming the castle the Obamas went their separate ways, the president to the G-20 Summit and the first lady made a surprise visit to a girl’s school in North London. Mrs. Obama seemed a bit surprised by the overwhelming response she received and after listening to a music program she gave the girls a pep talk.
"If you want to know the reason why I am standing here, it's because of education," she told them.
"I never cut class. I loved getting As, I liked being smart. I liked being on time. I thought being smart is cooler than anything in the world. You, too, with these values, can control your own destiny. You, too, can pave the way." She urged them to believe in their dreams.
"For nothing in my life ever would have predicted that I would be standing here as the first African-American First Lady. I was not raised with wealth or resources or any social standing to speak of. I was raised on the south side of Chicago - that's the real part of Chicago."
Much to the consternation of her Secret Service men girls mobbed her and she spent time giving hugs as the girls shouted, “we love you!” It was a mutual love fest all around.
Across town President Obama was busy with his first foray into international diplomacy. He was busy mending fences, introducing his brand of foreign policy and solving problems. At one point he saved the G-20 from disruption as he played peacemaker in a spat between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China.
The exchange between Sarkozy and Hu got so heated, said a source -- who is not a member of the Obama administration -- it was threatening the unity of the G-20 leaders' meeting.
But Mr. Obama, according to this account, stepped between the two men, urging them to try to find consensus, and giving them a "pep talk" about the importance of working together.
He proceeded to have conversations with both and finally brought them together, reaching an agreement, with shaking of hands all around. (ABC News)
Pretty impressive for the new guy on the block!
In his news conference the president called the emergency meeting of world powers a “turning point in our pursuit of global economic recovery,” but cautioned, “there are no guarantees.” He said the summit was “very productive” and “historic.”
Before leaving, the Obamas stopped to thank all the staff for all their hard work on their behalf. They managed to win hearts and build diplomatic ties wherever they went.
Meanwhile, back at the White House, under the watchful eye of their grandmother, Malia and Sasha are anxiously awaiting the return of Mom and Dad so that they can get that new puppy!
Cheri is a freelance writer, living in Southern California. She has two grown children, one in Iowa and one a recent graduate of Columbia University, and is the proud grandmother of two. Cheri is also a purveyor of fine coffee, warm chatter and dry wit.
You can find all of Cheri’s columns at www.ccabot.gather.com.