May 25th, 2011
03:13 PM ET

The Pope, the Queen, Nelson Mandela & Obama–what do they have in common?

LONDON (CNN)–With all the pomp and pageantry that Britain could muster President Obama Wednesday made history as the first American president to stand in London's Westminster Hall to address both Houses of Parliament.

He began on a lighter note saying, "I am told that the last three speakers here have been the Pope, Her Majesty the Queen, and Nelson Mandela - which is either a very high bar or the beginning of a very funny joke."

There was no punch line.  The president did speak about the strong relationship between Britainand the United States and the challenges ahead. (read more here)

-On the British-American relationship: "But as we enter this new chapter in our shared history, profound challenges stretch before us.  In a world where the prosperity of all nations is now inextricably linked, a new era of cooperation is required to ensure the growth and stability of the global economy.  As new threats spread across borders and oceans, we must dismantle terrorist networks and stop the spread of nuclear weapons, confront climate change and combat famine and disease.  And as a revolution races through the streets of the Middle East and North Africa, the entire world has a stake in the aspirations of a generation that longs to determine its own destiny." 

-On Libya: "We will proceed with humility, and the knowledge that we cannot dictate every outcome abroad.  Ultimately, freedom must be won by the people themselves, not imposed from without.  But we can and must stand with those who so struggle.  Because we have always believed that the future of our children and grandchildren will be better if other people's children and grandchildren are more prosperous and more free - from the beaches of Normandy to the Balkans to Benghazi."

-On the "Arab spring": "History tells us that democracy is not easy.  It will be years before these revolutions reach their conclusion, and there will be difficult days along the way.  Power rarely gives up without a fight - particularly in places where there are divisions of tribe and divisions of sect.  We also know that populism can take dangerous turns - from the extremism of those who would use democracy to deny minority rights, to the nationalism that left so many scars on this continent in the 20th century."


Topics: Libya • President Obama • The News
Mrs. Obama’s relationship advice to girls
May 25th, 2011
02:17 PM ET

Mrs. Obama’s relationship advice to girls

By CNN White House Producer Shawna Shepherd


LONDON (CNN) – First lady Michelle Obama confessed she didn’t see the presidency in Barack Obama’s future when they first met over 20 years ago.

Mrs. Obama jokingly responded with “absolutely not” when a high school student asked the first lady, “when you first met the president did you think he would go on to do such great things?”

After that quip she shared stories about a young man who showed a lot of promise, but admitted she didn’t think he was going to win the presidential nomination until election night.

“I always thought he would be useful, but I had no idea he was going to be president,” Mrs. Obama said to female high school students from the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School, who were participating in a day-long university “immersion experience” at the University of Oxford outside of London.

FULL POST


Topics: Michelle Obama • The Family
Oh, you shouldn't have
May 25th, 2011
02:02 PM ET

Oh, you shouldn't have

More news from the gift-giving front:

President Obama has given British Prime Minister David Cameron cuff-links engraved with the president's signature and a first edition copy of President Kennedy’s “Profiles in Courage.”

More details from a White House official:

The President and Mrs. Obama gave the Prime Minister a custom-made pair of White House Magnolia wood and sterling silver cufflinks engraved on the reverse with the President's signature, as well as a first edition of President John F. Kennedy's book, Profiles in Courage.

The President and Mrs. Obama gave Mrs. Cameron a custom-designed sterling silver cuff bracelet adorned with a White House Magnolia wood cabochon center, which was presented together with the cufflinks in a hand-carved Magnolia wood valet tray crafted specially for this occasion. The Magnolia wood gifts were fabricated from the Magnolia trees that fell on the grounds of The White House during the snow storm of February 2009.

Each of Prime Minister and Mrs. Cameron's children received a signed, personalized copy of President Obama's book Of Thee I Sing. Nancy and Elwen also received classic American kid toy scooters, and Florence received a handcrafted wooden jigsaw puzzle of Bo Obama, the First Family's dog, and a stuffed animal of Bo.


Topics: President Obama
Wednesday Poll: Assessing the 'special relationship'
May 25th, 2011
12:54 PM ET

Wednesday Poll: Assessing the 'special relationship'


Topics: Poll
Obama, Cameron meet the press
May 25th, 2011
09:30 AM ET

Obama, Cameron meet the press

President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron fielded questions from reporters in London Wednesday morning. Among the highlights:

- Obama says the pressure on Moammar Gadhafi will continue: "We will continue to strongly oppose the use of violence against protesters."

- They will raise the issue of the Arab uprisings at the upcoming G8 summit

- Obama said America's relationship with Britain is "the strongest it has ever been" and said the two nations were committed to working together on global economic recovery and fighting the war on terror.

- Cameron said the U.S. killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was "a strike right at the heart of international terrorism" and that Britain and the United States must work closely with Pakistan in the future.


Topics: President Obama • The News
May 25th, 2011
08:33 AM ET

Obama gets the royal treatment

CNN's Brianna Keilar runs down Obama's first day in London.


Topics: President Obama
POTUS schedule for May 25, 2011
May 25th, 2011
04:00 AM ET

POTUS schedule for May 25, 2011

Another jam-packed day ahead for the president, though perhaps less entertaining (no ping pong on the agenda).

Highlights include holding a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, a barbecue to honor families of U.S. and U.K. service members, a speech to the U.K. parliament, and a meet-and-greet at the U.S. Embassy.

And this evening the Obama’s will hold a dinner for the Queen at the residence of the American ambassador in London.

Full schedule as provided by the White House after the jump:
FULL POST


Topics: Daily Schedule