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Thursday 23 March 2017

Obama visit: trip well received in US media

Jon Swaine

Photographs of Barack and Michelle Obama drinking Guinness, mingling with royal newly weds William and Kate and playing table tennis have been well received by the US media.

But coverage of Mr Obama’s visit to Ireland and the UK has been slightly overshadowed by more urgent domestic stories – from the Joplin tornado to relations with Israel – that have dominated the agenda.

“Tornado-Damaged Missouri Braces for Second Storm, Obama Arrives in London,” ran the main headline on the website of PBS on Tuesday, highlighting a danger for Mr Obama of being abroad during a crisis.

For The New York Times, the visit was “rich in pageantry but shadowed by concerns over the stalemate in Libya, the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan” and fresh tension in the middle-east.

The latter was at the forefront of attentions in the US on Tuesday as Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, gave a speech to Congress, days after Mr Obama made a robust call for Israeli concessions.

Mr Obama’s error in signing the date as “2008” in Westminster Abbey’s guest book yesterday was picked up by several outlets. “The President had a senior moment,” said The New York Daily News.

A poll on the same newspaper’s website found 67 per cent of readers thought it “great” that Mr Obama was “strengthening relationships with our allies”, while 29 per cent called the trip a “waste of time”.

Jake Tapper, CBS's White House correspondent, remarked on the "kind of awkward moment" during Mr Obama's toast to The Queen during the state dinner. "Orchestra started with 'God Save the Queen' before he was done toasting," Tapper tweeted.

"It was almost like when the speech from the Oscar winner for Best Original Screenplay goes on too long," he added.

Meanwhile Gawker, the mischievous gossip website, lamented the fact that Mr Obama had been on the same side as David Cameron when the pair played ping-pong at a London secondary school.

“It'd be pretty satisfying to see two world leaders go head-to-head at a sport, especially since Obama—a known ping-pong enthusiast—stood a good chance at winning,” suggested Maureen O’Connor.

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