Obama's first day in London: Meetings, parties and iPods

advertisement | advertise on newsday

LONDON - He talked nuclear threats with Russia's presidentand gave an iPod to the queen.

And that was only the beginning. It was an eventful first day onthe world stage for President Barack Obama, launching new armscontrol talks, placing China ties on fresh footing and calmingfears about the ailing U.S. economy -- seemingly everywhere, relaxedand smiling all the while.

While wife Michelle attracted breathless attention with everystop, fashionable outfit and sip of tea.

- See photos of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in Europe

The new U.S. president, in London for Thursday's high-stakesglobal summit on the financial meltdown, seemed to be everywhere onWednesday.

School children ran alongside his nearly 20-vehicle motorcade.

He was asked to give a pep talk to England's soccer team for itsWorld Cup qualifying match (he politely declined) and to offercampaign tips to embattled British Prime Minister Gordon Brown("good policy is good politics," he said).

There was even a chance to talk dinosaurs with Brown's youngsons -- and to snare two hours of quality time with Queen ElizabethII at Buckingham Palace.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"Michelle has been really thinking that through," Obama said,presumably referring to the daunting clothes dilemma posed by anaudience with royalty. Mrs. Obama chose a black skirt and sweaterover a white top and a double strand of large pearls.

Before that meeting at the palace: diplomacy of a differentsort.

$relatedItem.caption

Brown, his dour demeanor one factor in his shaky politicalstanding, said effusively that Obama had provided "renewed hope"all around the world. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, whosenation has often assailed the U.S., offered his own praise, albeitmore measured. His first meeting with Obama, he said, left him"far more optimistic" about Washington-Moscow relations.

@Newsday

Undeterred by a bad cold, Obama held a whirlwind of one-on-onetalks with those and other leaders, including Chinese President HuJintao. He aimed not just to lay the groundwork for Thursday'ssummit of the 20 largest wealthy and developing economies but alsomore broadly to initiate a new era in American foreign relations.

His first task was a little repair job.

British feelings were hurt by what was perceived as a bit of acold shoulder from Obama toward Brown when the British leadervisited Washington last month. So when Obama and Brown appearedtogether before American and British reporters, Obama bent overbackward to show his affection for both host and host country. Thelengthy round of questions made up for the slight of no newsconference in Washington, and Obama took special care to note thatthe talks with Brown were his first official stop on his firstoverseas trip.

"The United States and the United Kingdom have stood togetherthrough thick and thin, through war and peace, through hard timesand prosperity, and we've always emerged stronger by standingtogether," Obama said next to a beaming Brown.