Independent: 'A rhetorical tour-de-force'

The Independent comments on Barack Obama's Westminster Hall speech:

"Of the two political set-pieces, the joint press conference with David Cameron, and the address to MPs and peers in Westminster Hall, the first was the more revealing of the actual state of what Mr Obama - in regrettable deference to British sensitivities - has learnt to call the "special relationship". The second was a rhetorical tour de force that rose to the splendour of the surroundings and yielded little to the President's Cairo speech in its sweep and significance as an expression of his international credo.

"Whether it was intended as such or not, the president's decision to give such a definitive and substantial speech in London can be seen as a compliment. It was as eloquent and confident a defence of universal rights, freedoms and aspirations as has been heard here for a long time, while refreshingly free of dogma.

"His praise for the "patchwork heritage" that had made it possible for "sons and daughters of the colonies" to sit in Parliament, and for "the grandson of a Kenyan who served as a cook in the British Army to stand before you as President of the United States" was the one line that brought spontaneous applause - and not a few damp eyes."


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