No More Shoulder Rubs: Bush-Style Diplomacy Over

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2009 4:58 PM CDT
Britain Prime Minister Gordon Brown, right, stands with, from left, his wife Sarah Brown, President Obama and Michelle Obama.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – No soul-searching gazes or shoulder rubs on this trip. President Obama's initial foray into foreign relations stands in stark contrast to the style of George Bush, writes Jonathan Martin in Politico. Bush took the "chummy," "towel-snapping" route in his relations with foreign leaders. Obama, on the other hand, is all business, and the White House took pains to emphasize how "frank" and "sober" today's discussions were (save for the queen).

It was a "constant strategy on the Bush administration's part, to develop this personal rapport,” said an Obama official. “Our strategy is to develop an agenda based on interest ... not to make the goal of these meetings to develop some kind of buddy-buddy relationship." Another major contrast: Obama emphasized that the US is interested in forging consensus on big decisions. "I came here to put forward our ideas, but I also came here to listen, and not to lecture," he said.