British Prime Minister David Cameron went straight over the top Wednesday evening during his White House State Dinner toast, calling President Obama a man of “strength, moral authority, and wisdom” while comparing him to Theodore Roosevelt, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks.
Cameron and Obama appear to have developed a friendship – or at least a relationship that is portrayed that way by a White House that wants to disprove the criticism that Obama has developed few close relationships with allied world leaders. The pair flew to Ohio for a basketball game Tuesday and played ping pong as a team during Obama’s visit to Great Britain last May.
In describing the president’s “moral authority” and “wisdom,” Cameron seemed to be directly contrasting Obama with George W. Bush, saying Obama had “pressed the reset button” on America’s moral standing in the world.
Moral authority, because Barack understands that the means matter every bit as much as the ends. Yes, America must do the right thing, but to provide moral leadership, America must do it in the right way, too.
The first President I studied at school was Theodore Roosevelt. He talked of speaking softly and carrying a big stick. That is Barack’s approach. And in following it, he has pressed the reset button on the moral authority of the entire free world.
Wisdom, because Barack has not rushed into picking fights, but is steward of America’s resources of hard and soft power. He’s taken time to make considered decisions, drawing down troops from Iraq and surging in Afghanistan.
Bush was frequently criticized for a “go it alone” approach to foreign affairs and for being too quick to intervene overseas with military force.
Cameron said he cited Obama’s “strength” because “Barack has been strong when required to defend his national interests.” He pointed to the killing Osama Bin Laden, an operation that is partially attributable to capabilities put in place by Bush.
The British leader asserted that Obama is continuing the work of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks by waging a modern struggle for civil rights.
Our generation faces a new civil rights struggle, to seek the prize of the future that is open to every child as never before.
Barack has made this one of the goals of his presidency, the goal he’s pursuing with enormous courage.
It was not clear what specific types of discrimination or Obama-driven remedies Cameron was referencing.