“Don’t go,” one female reporter whispered as he disappeared.
But he must go! He must go hear performances by John Legend and British folk-rockers Mumford & Sons, whose music evokes frolicking double-date road trips rather than fusty governmental sit-downs.
He must be ferried by trolley to the tent set up on the South Lawn, decorated with pillar candles and purple carpet, and flower boxes evoking American and English gardens.
The British government and British crown have begun 2012 by embarking on an unofficial goodwill tour, promoting London’s Summer Olympics, promoting Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. Prince Harry has been gallivanting around the Caribbean, dancing in Jamaica, gamboling down a track with Usain Bolt.
Cameron’s visit also marks another anniversary — 200 years since British troops invaded Washington and burned the White House. (All’s forgiven, mates.)
After all, they’ve given us so much: Kate Winslet, Adele, English, Cadbury Creme Eggs.
We, in turn, gave them outdoor grilling. The president, earlier on Wednesday, presented the prime minister with a wood- and charcoal-burning Braten 1000 Series Grill, commemorating a spring visit to Downing Street last year, in which the two first couples grilled together and served food to members of the armed services.
And what weather we’ve been having — perfect for a cookout. Alas, Cameron flipped no burgers. (But Obama made jokes about it.)
The menu, as usual, was a commercial for the first lady’s backyard garden. Chefs harvested veggies and greens for the four-course American meal with small nods to British tastes: Alaskan halibut with baby kale, green salad, bison Wellington and steamed lemon pudding. After criticisms that the Obamas served a pricey wine at the state dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao last year, the White House has stopped releasing the names of specific labels. For this dinner, the White House merely told reporters that “an American wine will be paired with each course.”
It was a lovely evening. Good friends hosted good friends. Accents mingled in their common language. The president placed his favorite “Homeland” star at the head table. The first lady, representing all women, both American and from abroad, seated herself next to The Clooney.