Obama Meets World Leaders in London

March 31, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
President Obama is off on his first overseas trip since taking office. He faces a big agenda when he arrives in London for the first of five globe-trotting stops. The stakes are high for President Obama heading into a challenging week that will define his leadership on the world stage.

Last summer, Europe cheered his candidacy as if he were an American rock star. A year later, there is worry, even anger, over the global economic crisis and some of the blame being laid at America's door.

The host of the first big summit of the G20, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, set the stage. "Leaders meeting in London must supply the oxygen of confidence to today's global economy to give people in all our countries renewed hope for the future."

But France is threatening to play spoiler if there is not enough tough new regulation of the global financial system. "Yes, we will. President Sarkozy was very clear on that front. He said that 'If the deliverables are not there, I won't sign the Communiqu'... It means walking away," said French Finance Minister Christine Lararde.

President Obama will bring from Washington a bit of that oxygen of confidence. The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Americans are increasingly optimistic that the government is turning the U.S. economy in the right direction.

That is confidence not yet shared by the leaders gathering in London.

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