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Social media wrap: Cameron and Bloomberg: British bulldog meets New York hot dog

  David_cameron_michael_bloomberg


British Prime Minister David Cameron’s stiff upper lip cut the mustard with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday as the two chowed down on some of the city’s famous street hot dogs.

It was a whistlestop tour of NYC for Cameron, who in days previous had been given some royal treatment by President Obama in a prestigious Oval Office meeting and a subsequent grilling by four senators who are exploring links between gulf oil spill company BP and the release of the Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi.

In New York, Cameron also had a “meeting of minds” with U.N. leader Ban Ki-Moon – which comes on the back of his “violent agreement” with Obama -- and then finished off with a powwow with Wall Street’s elite tier of banking executives. (Cameron posted on Facebook that he’s changing British foreign policy to more directly promote the interests of British companies abroad -- presumably including BP.)

Bloomberg, meanwhile, posted a pic of the two polishing off some street food:

"Enjoyed a perfect NYC lunch today: A street hot dog with UK Prime Minister David Cameron" David_cameron_ban_ki_moon

Cameron – or an aide – feverishly tweeted interviews and pictures and video of the U.K. premier’s visit, which is intended to welcome Cameron’s arrival on the international stage. Bloomberg later laid on a celeb-filled bash for Cameron whose guests included Whoopi Goldberg, Katie Couric, Diane von Furstenberg, Newt Gingrich and Rupert Murdoch.

It’s not all been plain sailing for Cameron on his first visit Stateside in an official capacity. He drew the ire of the Brits by saying that the U.K. was a “junior partner” in the Allied partnership that defeated Nazi Germany, and on the home front, his partner in government, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, drew flak in Parliament for suggesting that the Iraq war was illegal. Both gaffes spurred a slew of clarifications. 

Cameron also refused to order a review into the Megrahi case despite American pressure – although during his presser with Obama he did condemn Megrahi’s release on health grounds last year from a Scottish prison -- while the Scottish government said in a letter to the U.S. that BP had not lobbied them for Megrahi’s release.

The issue remains a biting one for U.S. senators including Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand (who tweeted her intention to grill Cameron) who have organized hearings scheduled for next week on a so-called “deal in the desert” allegedly struck between former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Libya’s President Moammar Kadafi. Cameron so far has not sought to blame the previous U.K. administration for any such apparent wranglings.

In his 10 weeks since taking the Conservatives back into power in the U.K. after 13 years in the wilderness – albeit in a coalition government with unlikely partners the Liberal Democrats -- Cameron has launched austerity measures that contrast painfully with Obama’s stimulus plans, showing that the U.S.-U.K. “special relationship” is still largely in a state of flux after deteriorating markedly under Cameron’s predecessor, Gordon Brown. Cameron even flew to the U.S. on a commercial flight, apparently saving the British taxpayer more than $300,000. (A third of a million dollars buys a whole lot of tea, apparently.)  

He may be eating hot dogs with Bloomberg and chowing down with America’s elite, but this British bulldog so far has shown he’s no Yankee-poodle.

-- Craig Howie

Photo (top): David Cameron, left, and Michael Bloomberg. Credit: Getty Images.

Photo (inset): David Cameron and Ban-Ki-Moon. Credit: Getty Images

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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