The last time Obama went to Europe, large cheering crowds greeted him. This time, protestors took the streets of London as a beleaguered President faces skepticism on the world stage and global doubts about his ability to fix the economic problems that face America and the rest of the planet.
But Obama’s theme appears to be "we are the world" and is spinning the hell out of a message that his plan will work and the rest of the world needs to get behind him and the United States.
It’s ambitious, audacious and typically Obama: Optimism in the face of bleak reality and upbeat rhetoric in a time that demands action.
Will it work? Stay tuned.
On the eve of a global economic summit, President Barack Obama promised world leaders he would listen, not lecture, as they seek a common fix to the financial crisis. "We can only meet this challenge together," he said Wednesday as the U.S. and Russia spoke on the summit sidelines about nuclear warhead reduction.
The flurry of diplomacy came as Obama stepped on the world stage for the first time as president, aiming to shore up both America’s economy and its reputation across the globe. He met with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and a session with the Chinese leadership was in the offing.
Thousands of protesters converged on central London to rally against the economic summit.
The White House confirmed that Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev would announce new talks to limit the number of nuclear warheads, the first major negotiations in years over what Obama called the "gravest threat to humanity." Speaking directly to anxious families back home, Obama sought to restore consumer confidence and encourage people to think about spending now to help their future.
"Basing decisions around fear is not the right way to go," he said. "We are going to get through this difficult time."
The president also disputed criticism that the United States was feuding with other nations about the need to pump more money into economic stimulus policies.
"I am absolutely confident that this meeting will reflect enormous consensus about the need to work in concert to deal with these problems," Obama said.