David Usborne: The PM will never bring America to a standstill

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Everything has been set to ensure David Cameron gets the biggest bang for his buck during his 48 hours in America: he has a major network interview (ABC News), three hours in the White House, meetings on Capitol Hill with Nancy Pelosi et al, and a brief foray by train to New York City. But in truth, Mr Cameron's going to Washington is never going to bring Main Street America to a standstill.

At least there were some corny TV images when Tony Blair went to George Bush's ranch in Texas – but Obama doesn't have one of those, and Cameron is not a natural for the buddy role. Mr Cameron has said he doesn't want Britain to be "slavish" in its dealings with the US. But that doesn't mean that he is any less anxious than his recent predecessors to keep alive the narrative of the special relationship. Like the permanent seat on the UN Security Council, it helps Britain look more important than it is. Still, Cameron muddied the myth a little bit by acknowledging in an eve-of-visit interview with Time magazine that Britain is very much the junior in that partnership.

Mr Obama will play the part of gracious host to the full, as Britain truly does matter on Afghanistan. But the President will quickly turn his attention to more urgent domestic business.