Friday 20 Jul 2018 | 10:33 | SYDNEY
Friday 20 Jul 2018 | 10:33 | SYDNEY

Obama: 'I was with Kevin Rudd today...'


Michael Fullilove


25 March 2009 11:33

For those who are not so pointy-headed as to watch Barack Obama’s press conference live from the East Room of the White House, the president just gave Kevin Rudd a nice little shout-out:

QUESTION: Good evening, Mr. President. Thank you. Taking this economic debate a bit globally, senior Chinese officials have publicly expressed an interest in an international currency. This is described by Chinese specialists as a sign that they are less confident than they used to be in the value and the reliability of the U.S. dollar. European countries have resisted your calls to spend more on economic stimulus.

I wonder, sir, as a candidate who ran concerned about the image of the United States globally, how comfortable you are with the Chinese government, run by communists, less confident than they used to be in the U.S. dollar, and European governments, some of the center-left, some of them socialist, who say you're asking them to spend too much?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, I haven't asked them to do anything. What I've suggested is -- is that all of us are going to have to take steps in order to lift the economy. We don't want a situation in which some countries are making extraordinary efforts and other countries aren't, with the hope that somehow the countries that are making those important steps lift everybody up.

And so somebody's got to take leadership. It's not just me, by the way. I was with Kevin Rudd, prime minister of Australia, today, who was very forceful in suggesting that countries around the world, those with the capacity to do so, take the steps that are needed to fill this enormous hole in global demand. Gordon Brown, when he came to visit me, said the exact same thing…

Admittedly, the purpose of the endorsement was defensive: Obama was using the example of Rudd’s economic policies to shield himself from criticism on the same issue. Nevertheless, there are few more prominent media forums in the US system than a bells-and-whistles presidential press conference, so the PM will probably go to bed tonight a happy man.