Byline: TERRY KIRBY, JUSTIN DAVENPORT
THE Prime Minister cannot even take comfort today in knowing he can capitalise on Barack Obama's visit to London tonight.
In what has been dubbed the "battle of the photo opportunities", both Tony Blair and David Cameron will enjoy high-profile meetings with the US Democratic Party's presidential candidate but Mr Brown will be forced to conduct his business with Mr Obama largely behind closed doors.
In the wake of Mr Obama's successful visit to Berlin yesterday where he delivered a widely praised and statesmanlike speech in front of adoring crowds the Prime Minister might have hoped to share some of the American's limelight to offset the Glasgow by-election defeat and the debate over his leadership.
But in contrast to the Berlin visit, Mr Obama's brief London stopover will be carried out in almost complete secrecy with no plans for joint press conferences and only tightly controlled photo opportunities.
When Mr Obama arrives in Downing Street for a breakfast meeting tomorrow,
Mr Brown will be unable to appear on the steps at No10 with his guest, because he did not do the same for John McCain, the Republican Party's candidate, when he visited in May. Protocol therefore requires that Mr Obama and Mr Brown conclude their meeting and pose for the formal farewell handshake photographs behind the doors of No 10, considered a much less flattering photographic moment than appearing in front of the flashbulbs and TV cameras on the steps outside. Mr Obama will then address the waiting media alone.
The Downing Street talks will be sandwiched between an earlier meeting with the former prime minister who has a much higher profile than Mr Brown among Mr Obama's voters and a later one with the Tory leader at the Houses of Parliament. …