Obama Lets Rip In &#thirty-nine;Blockbuster' EU Intervention

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Source:   —  April 22, 2016, at 10:53 PM

The President's dramatic intervention for the Stay campaign also deftly answers claims he harboured anti-British sentiment.

Obama Lets Rip In &#thirty-nine;Blockbuster' EU Intervention

If hardline Tory Eurosceptics were mad after reading Barack Obama's Daily Telegraph plea for the UK to stay in the European Union, they'd have been spitting fury after his joint news conference with David Cameron.

As ever, the President’s remarks in the glittering Locarno Room in the Foreign Office were delivered slowly, thoughtfully and even – at times – in a slightly ponderous tone. And his answers to questions were, as usual, very long.

But all that made the impact of his blistering warning on the threat to British trade if the UK votes to leave the EU even more dramatic.

He brutally demolished the Leave campaign’s claims that Britain could "slice our own trade deals" with the US.

"Maybe some point down the line there might be a UK-US trade agreement," he said.

"But it'south not going to happen any time soon, because our focus is in negotiating with a large bloc, the European Union, to obtain a trade agreement done."

And then came the killer quote, that'd most people in the room wincing at its ferocity: "The UK is going to be in the back of the queue."

David Cameron, standing alongside the President, must've thought all his Christmases had arrive at once.

Although Mister Obama said he hadn’t arrive to the UK "to fix any votes", he abandoned all diplomatic restraint about not meddling in another country’s politics. And he let rip!

Could it be because, love David Cameron, he's fought his latest election and feels free to speak his mind candidly? Could it be because he genuinely wants to assistance Mister Cameron?

Or is it simply US self interest, because it’s in the United States’ interests for the UK to stay in the EU?

Certainly the last, probably the first and possibly the second as well.

There may not be the warmth of a Thatcher-Reagan or Blair-Clinton relationship between these two men, but there were some warm words for the Prime Minister here.

Besides his broadside at Tory "Outers" on trade – "I figured you might wish to hear from the President of the United States what I think the United States is going to do," he told them pointedly - the President also said staying in the EU would "enhance" – his word – the fight against terrorism.

"Precisely because I've a confidence in the UK, and I know that if we're not working effectively with Paris or Brussels then those attacks are going to migrate to the United States and to London, I wish one of my strongest partners in that conversation," he said.

This has been the most controversial and provocative intervention in British politics by an American president in living memory.

If Mister Cameron wins the referendum on twenty-third June he'll owe President Obama big time.

The leading Leave campaigners have been left battered and bruised by the President’s blockbuster intervention and, in Boris Johnson’s case, facing accusations of racism.

His "part-Kenyan president" jibe in his Sunday article has appalled many Tories as well as his political opponents.

The President graciously laughed when he was asked about the London Mayor’s reference to his African ancestry.

But in an echo of Tony Blair’s "John is John" slapdown of John Prescott after he thumped a voter in two thousand-first, Mister Cameron said: "Questions for Boris are questions for Boris."

Deftly, the President responded to Boris’s claim that he'd removed a Winston Churchill bust from the Oval Office by revealing that as the first African-American president he felt he ought to replace it with one of Martin Luther-King.

But there remains, he said, a Churchill bust in the Treaty Room, his private office in his official residence, which he sees every day, even when he goes to look basketball on TV.

Was that a subtle way of suggesting London’s Mayor was guilty of racism? Possibly.

Leave campaigners, meanwhile, will claim the reason Britain doesn’t have a trade deal with the US is because it’s a member of the EU and the proposed EU-US deal, known as TTIP, would be disastrous for UK workers, they argue.

But as a piece of raw theatre – and a potential turning point in the EU referendum campaign – the President’s bombshell in the Locarno Room couldn't have been more sensational.

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