The blame game
The prime minister's always blamed America for this economic crisis. The French and the Germans have blamed Britain and America. "Who's right?" I asked at this morning's Brown/Obama news conference.
Their answers were instructive. Obama accepted that America had to take its share of the blame but then sought to share it with Britain and Europe:
"If you look at the sources of this crisis, the US certainly has some accounting to do with respect of a regulatory system that was inadequate to the massive changes that had taken place in the global financial system," he said.
"What is also true is that here in Great Britain, and continental Europe, around the world, we are seeing the same mismatch between the regulatory regimes that were in place and the highly integrated global capital markets that had emerged."
Gordon Brown retreated behind his new formula of "global problems require global solutions".
Aware of the threat from Paris to leave an empty chair if meaningful agreements aren't reached, he went on to joke that he was confident that President Sarkozy would be in his place for the last - as well as the first - course of tonight's pre-summit dinner.
Both men sought to play down talk of a rift, with Obama mocking journalists for being bored by pictures of heads of state and communiqués and wanting to inject some "controversy and drama".
So, now it's over to Merkel and Sarkozy to sound conciliatory or, well, inject some controversy and drama.
PS. Think back a few months ago. There were questions then about whether President Obama would come to the G20 at all, questions about who would visit the White House first, questions about which country he'd visit first.
The answer to every question was answered in the way Gordon Brown wanted. Today both men - dressed in blue suits, white shirts and blue ties - lavished praise on each other. Obama even offered him electoral advice to do the right thing. The prime minister could not have asked for more.