Obama, Brown laud relations

March 4, 2009 8:51:56 AM PST
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Wednesday an "economic hurricane" has swept the world and U.S. leaders shouldn't view the crisis as limited to America's borders. In a formal address to a Joint Meeting of Congress, Brown said that protectionism ultimately makes every nation vulnerable because "a bad bank anywhere is a threat to good banks everywhere."

"No matter where it starts, an economic crisis does not stop at the water's edge," he said told members of the House and Senate gathered in the cavernous House chamber. "It ripples across the world," declared Brown, whose speech was applauded on several occasions.

His remarks came as Brown looks for a boost to his own political fortunes. In hard political times at home, he hopes to benefit from Britons' high regard for President Barack Obama and to demonstrate British leadership at a time of economic uncertainty.

He was facing a U.S. Congress deeply divided on how to solve America's economic crisis, with Republicans sparring with Obama on whether government intervention and money can salvage financial markets.

Brown called on the House and Senate leaders to "seize the moment" because international leaders were willing more than ever to work together.

"Just think how each of our actions, if combined, could mean a whole, much greater than the sum of the parts," he said.

Brown was laying the groundwork for a G-20 economic summit of advanced and developing nations meeting in London next month. The summit, which Brown is chairing, is critical for improving global economic confidence as well as Brown's political prospects.


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