Obama/Cameron love-in comes unstuck over cuts

The splits between President Obama and David Cameron over the scale of their respective deficit reduction plans were exposed at the joint press conference today.

The splits between President Obama and David Cameron over the scale of their respective deficit reduction plans were exposed at the joint press conference between the two leaders at Lancaster House this lunchtime. Obama said there was a need for a “mix of cuts and revenue generation”, calling for continued investment – while Cameron, incredibly, claimed the two governments had a “relatively similar programme”.

The US President also praised Gordon Brown’s leadership in tackling the global recession; he said:

“As I said two tears ago at the G20 on my first visit [as President] in April 2009, each country is different, and we need to make difficult decisions to dig ourselves out, there was a need to put us on the path to sustainable growth.

“We’ve succeeded in the first part – due to concerted action between the US, UK, and other countries… To sustain growth requires us to continue to make investments in education, science and infrastrtuctre.

“We need a balanced approach; we need a mix of cuts and revenue generation, we need the right balance of taking money out and putting it in.”

Contrary to what our prime minister says, the approach of the US government is markedly different to that of the coalition. As Will Straw¬†explained on these pages last month, Obama’s deficit reduction plan is three times slower than George Osborne’s.

Cameron, however, defended his plans, insisting:

“We may take slightly different paths but we want to end up in the right place in the end there’s no national security unless you have economic security.”

The other questions at today’s press conference were on Libya – with both leaders vowing to press on and take the fight to Gaddafi until the mission is completed; on the case of Gary McKinnon; on the nature of the relationship between Britain and the US; on the tornados ravaging Missouri; and on the Middle East, following Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress last night.

On Israel/Palestine, Obama concluded:

“If people of good will remain engaged, then ultimately even the worst of conflicts can be resolved.”

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