President Obama was greeted with a “hearty meal” with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Tuesday night on the eve of his scheduled speech to Australia's Parliament.
Gillard said it was crucial that the president be fed well after comments that her partner, Tim, relayed to her after speaking with Michelle Obama in Hawaii at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation luncheon.
“She said to him that you often don’t eat because you are so focused on your work that you forget to eat, and she wanted to make sure that we feed you well in Australia.” Gillard quipped. “So the only answer to that was to make sure you had a hearty meal and had six to seven hundred witnesses.”
Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott also spoke, joking about the lack of official leadership opposition in the U.S.
“The nearest thing you have to an opposition leader is probably an editorial in The Wall Street Journal,” Abbott said.
Obama kept his remarks short, noting what must be a case of jet lag at the midway point in his trip through the Pacific.
“I’m going to be brief, for we have had a busy day, and I’m not sure what day it is,” the president said. “And I’m going to subject you to a very long speech tomorrow.”
All jokes aside, the leaders exchanged warm remarks. Gillard said that Obama’s life story embodies "the American Dream of opportunity,” and Obama said that there are “no better friends than the United States and Australia.”