Cameron praises Obama at lavish state dinner

From left to right: Samantha Cameron, Michelle Obama, David Cameron and Barack Obama pose for a photo before the State Dinner Mr Cameron said he was honoured to call Mr Obama "an ally, a partner and a friend"

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Black ties and blue dresses were the order of the night - this was the largest state dinner ever given by the Obamas.

Despite the presence of George Clooney and Damian Lewis, there were more big money political donors than stars.

The menu of crisped hake, bison Wellington and lemon pudding with huckleberry sauce was served in a massive tent on the White House's South Lawn.

The tables and guests bathed in a purple glow from tinted lights.

But the most lavish thing about the evening was UK Prime Minister David Cameron's praise for his host.

He said that - like Teddy Roosevelt before him - President Obama spoke quietly and carried a big stick.

What stood out was Obama's strength, moral authority and wisdom, Mr Cameron continued.

A table setting for the State Dinner The dinner was held under an enormous party tent

"He has pressed the reset button on the moral authority of the entire free world... and has found a new voice for America with the Arab people".

Mr Cameron concluded: "Barack, it is an honour to call you an ally, a partner and a friend."

Mr Obama said the prime minister was "just the kind of partner that you want at your side", adding, "I trust him."

No wonder...

In this election year the president is accused by his opponents of failing to stand up for America and leading his country towards socialism. So this sort of endorsement from a conservative leader is gold dust.

Mark Mardell, North America editor Article written by Mark Mardell Mark Mardell North America editor

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