BARACK Obama’s first call in a crisis to a world leader is to David Cameron, the US ambassador to London has told the Standard.
Ahead of the Prime Minister's visit to America, Louis Susman buried talk that the “special relationship” between Britain and the USA is on the wane as he heaped praise on Mr Cameron’s strong, “aggressive” leadership.
The ambassador also told how:
* American intelligence agencies are working with MI6, MI5 and the Metropolitan Police to safeguard the London Olympics.
* America, and Britain, will not “cut and run” from Afghanistan despite the mounting military death toll and recent setbacks including outrage over US troops burning Korans and an American soldier running amok killing 16 civilians including nine children.
* The US, the UK, Germany and France are warning Israel not to launch a military strike now on Iran.
* Michelle Obama and Samantha Cameron enjoy a “very, very warm” relationship and will spend many hours together over coming days.
Speaking from New York, Mr Susman, 74, stressed the growing bond between the Obamas and Camerons, despite the two leaders representing different political traditions.
“He has a very special relationship, as he calls it an essential relationship, with the United Kingdom and Prime Minister Cameron,” he said.
“One of the particular attractions is generational. President has just turned 50, the Prime Minister, I think is 45, they have young children. So I would tell you that as the president says ‘We have a problem, our first call is to the United Kingdom and to the Prime Minister’.
“From this ambassadorship, we see a strong leader, that’s aggressive for all of its causes, and obviously has a strong popularity right now in the United Kingdom.”
His warm words contrast with how Mr Obama started his presidency, when he sent back to the British embassy a loaned bronze bust of Winston Churchill that George W Bush kept in the Oval Office.
Relations with Gordon Brown were at time strained.
There were also suggestions that Mr Obama was lukewarm about the “special relationship”, partly as he had been told by Kenyan relatives how his grandfather was allegedly tortured by British forces in colonial years.
Tomorrow, though, Mr Cameron will become the first foreign leader to join the president on Air Force One as the two fly to Ohio to chill out at a basketball game.