tintinnabular (tintinnabular) wrote in ontd_political,

Obama and Rudd: BFFs?

US President Barack Obama has described Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as his closest political match on the world stage.

Mr Obama, who postponed his March visit to Canberra until June, says he expects to spend at least a couple of days in Australia.

In a White House interview, to be broadcast tonight, Mr Obama said Mr Rudd was a leader with political views similar to his.

"Kevin is somebody [with whom] I probably share as much of a world view as any world leader out there. I find him smart, but humble," he told ABC Television's 7.30 Report.

"He works wonderfully well in multi-lateral settings.

"He's always constructive, incisive. And you know, I think he is, like me, a pragmatic person."

Mr Obama said his wife, Michelle, and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, could visit Sydney and Canberra during their stay.

He recalled visiting Australia during his childhood in Indonesia.

"I used to travel through Australia when my mother was living in Indonesia and my grandparents were living in Hawaii," he said.

"We'd usually go through Sydney and memories I have, not only of it being a beautiful country but of people being just wonderfully hospitable and kind to me, are ones that I carry with me."

Mr Obama said he was in regular contact with Mr Rudd about Australia's involvement in the war in Afghanistan.

But he rejected assertions the war situation was not improving ahead of a US troop reduction beginning in mid-2011.

"We can't be in there in perpetuity," he said.

"Neither the American people nor the Australian people should be asked to carry that burden any longer than it needs to be carried."

Since 2002, 11 Australian troops have been killed in Afghanistan.


The full transcript of the interview is available here.
Tags: australia, barack obama

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