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Obama, Brown Praise Relations, Assess the Economic Crisis

BY Admin  March 3, 2009 at 5:15 PM EDT

Brown, Obama; photo by David Katz, via Flickr

“Great Britain is one of our closest, strongest allies,” President Obama told reporters amid their meetings at the White House. “There is a link, a bond there that will not break.”

On the economic crisis, Mr. Obama that basing government moves on Wall Street’s “fits and starts” could result in bad long-term policy.

Mr. Obama said that he was “absolutely confident” that the U.S. economy will pick up and that economic growth indicators such as low unemployment, businesses investing and robust lending will eventually happen. He said he is not making policy based on “the day-to-day gyrations of the stock market.”

The British prime minister praised President Obama for “his leadership of his country and the inspiration he’s giving the world at this very difficult time.” The two leaders also called for common principles to bolster the financial regulatory structure, Reuters reported.

The president met with Brown to discuss their countries and the world’s ailing economies ahead of the upcoming summit of the Group of 20 developed and emerging economies to be held in London on April 2.

On Tuesday morning, Brown told NPR that the financial crisis is a “global problem. It needs global solutions.”

“I think there is a general understanding, whether you talk to China, whether you talk to the European Union or you talk to our great friends here in America, that we need to show that the world can come together,” Brown said.

In recent weeks, the British leader has invoked the New Deal policies of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, which endeavored to bring the country out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. In the same vein, Brown, who served as Britain’s finance minister, is calling for a “global New Deal” that would involve major economies working closely together to stimulate worldwide growth and financial regulation.

“There is a global banking collapse that we’re dealing with consequences of in every country,” Brown told NPR. He added that the international community needed to set standards to which countries could look.

“If people are not able to meet [those standards], we would have a mechanism by which we would say, ‘Look, this is not good enough,’ and people would lose their status in the international community,” Brown said.

While Brown is the first European leader to meet with Mr. Obama since he took office, Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso was the first foreign leader to be invited to the White House. To many, this signals a change in priorities for the White House, Reuters reported, with Asia and the Middle East coming before Europe.

Still, with Brown’s Labour Party struggling politically back home, the impact of his visit will be closely watched both there and in the U.S., the Associated Press reported, as Brown is hoping for a bump in the polls back home after meeting with the popular Democratic president.