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Cameron Visit Seen as Gift to Obama Reelection Campaign

President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron prepare to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Tuesday, March 13, 2012, before departing for Ohio. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)  (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

March 13, 2012

Foreign leaders always strive to appear neutral in American elections. But sometimes their actions betray their real feelings. That may be the case with the visit this week by British Prime Minister David Cameron. Much to the consternation of conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic, Cameron seems to be siding with President Barack Obama, despite a pretty rocky start to the incumbent's stewardship of the famed "special relationship" between the two longtime allies.

When he first took office, Obama horrified many Brits as well as the sizeable number of Anglophiles in the former colonies when he redecorated the Oval Office. In came a bust of Abraham Lincoln; out went the bust of Winston Churchill that had been loaned to President George W. Bush as a sign of trans-atlantic solidarity after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Then Obama further dismayed the British when the White House fumbled something as simple as the gifts given to then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Almost as if an aide had rushed out to Walmart at the last minute, the president gave Brown a box set of CDs - of a format that made them unusable in London.

It is not known what gift Obama will give Cameron on Wednesday. But it is not too early to conclude that the visit itself is a gift to an Obama reelection team that would like to portray the president's first term as a foreign policy highlight reel. Cameron, though he confesses to ignorance about basketball, readily agreed to let the president drag him to an NCAA tournament basketball game, which just happens to be in the center of the battleground state of Ohio. The tradeoff for Cameron is being able to claim that he is the first world leader invited to share a ride on Air Force One with Obama.

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