When Irish eyes are smiling
Looking at the footage of Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen's visit to the White House, I was struck with how lavish the welcome was compared to that afforded to Gordon Brown.
Mr Cowen got the full 'press conference with national flags' that neither Mr Brown or his Japanese counterpart received during their trips, President Obama wore a green tie and even the White House fountain got a green flush.
As for a quiet chat in the Oval Office, this week that honour went to Northern Ireland's First Minister and Deputy First Minister, namely Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness. Well, at least the British Embassy can reflect with pride that our PM beat Sinn Fein to the comfy chairs... just.
"Irish signatures are on our founding documents; Irish blood has been spilled on our battlefields; Irish sweat went into building our greatest cities", said the president.
Vice President Joe Biden meanwhile reminded his audience that British troops had evacuated Boston on 17th March 1776. This gag produced a great deal of laughter - except I imagine at the British embassy. Vice President Biden, we should remember, is spearheading the administration's efforts to improve America's image in the world.
What all of this tells us of course is that Saint Patrick's Day is a huge deal in the US. Some estimates put at 40m the number of Americans claiming Irish ancestry. No president can ignore or snub the Irish at that particular time.
It does though remind us once more of the UK's place in the scheme of things, and how pointless references to the UK/US special relationship sometimes are.