Simon Carr:

The Sketch: I came. I saw. But big BO didn't conquer

Share
Related Topics

A colleague in front of me at the press conference had been in the States and seen Obama during the presidential elections.

It had been in a packed, ecstatic basketball hall and the candidate did the business he was famous for. The blind saw, the halt walked and demons – or George Bush as he was known at the time – got cast out.

Whatever he's doing now, he isn't doing that. Despite my residual, debilitating cynicism, I was hoping to levitate just a little in the presence of the Big B.O. But it wasn't ever going to happen. Actually, even the American press corps didn't stand up when he came in (we all jeer quietly when they do).

He was so normal he was ordinary. If he didn't have a nuclear trigger in his briefcase you would have left the press conference early.

My notes show very lean pickings. "This meeting will reflect an enormous consensus to work in concert," he'd said. I hoped it was a slip of the tongue. But he also praised our PM's "integrity" and told him: "The most important thing is to be able to look at yourself in the mirror in the morning." Is it? Really?

"Basing decisions round fear is not the right way to go." Now hang on just a second there. Fear is the thing just now. Fear is king! Scoff at fear at your peril! An American journalist asked him whether we the public should spend or save.

They don't like these simple questions, succinctly put. He spent the next five minutes saying "It depends".

Nick Robinson's question noted that Gordon Brown had been telling us all year that the recession was born in the USA. That was funny. Would he apologise?

Barack said he was "less interested in assigning blame than in finding a solution".

So he'll continue Bill Clinton's policy of dangling unaffordable mortgages in front of people who'd never be able to repay them? Let's ask him that next time.

He also said it wasn't just a question of solving this crisis but of "making sure another one never happens again". Do you know, I really think he was promising an end to boom and bust.

It may be too early but it will soon be worth asking: "Is he actually any good?"

Later in the day, an impish Sarkozy and that sturdy old sausage Ms Merkel gave a press conference of their own. They spoke about history, the need for compromise, why they wouldn't compromise, that they weren't blaming anyone, that they were going to build a new world tomorrow but that the day after would be too late.

I think they were saying there wasn't going to be a walkout. "When it comes to historic moments," the French President said, "you can't circumvent them." But I bet you can.

simoncarr@sketch.sc

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Opilio Recruitment: QA Automation Engineer

£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A Pokot woman holds a razor blade after performing a circumcision on four girls  

The campaigns to end FGM are a welcomed step, but they don't go far enough

Charlotte Rachael Proudman
Our political system is fragmented, with disillusioned voters looking to the margins for satisfaction  

Politics of hope needed to avert flight to margins

Liam Fox
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game