Obama Is Following My Lead, Says Brown; Premier's Boast as He Flies to Washington

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Byline: Benedict Brogan Political Editor

BARACK Obama is following Britain's lead in tackling the economic crisis, Gordon Brown claimed last night as he flew to Washington for talks with the U.S. President.

The Prime Minister praised the United States for taking the same steps that he has introduced in the UK to fight off a catastrophic slump.

Mr Brown's boast was part of a Downing Street offensive to ensure he gets a political windfall from his 48-hour visit to Washington, which starts today.

As the first EU leader to be offered a coveted invitation to the White House, he is banking on an Obama bounce to rescue his dire poll ratings.

He is desperate for some of Mr Obama's political magic to rub off on his battered leadership and hopes that images of him alongside the new president will boost his image. However, the White House has made plain it will be a 'businesslike' visit stripped of personal touches.

The two men will have what No10 said was a working lunch today but there will be no socialising with spouses, even though Mrs Brown is joining her husband to attend his speech to Congress tomorrow.

Mr Brown arrived last night laden with gifts, including a seven volume, first edition Martin Gilbert biography of Winston Churchill.

His wife Sarah will follow him this afternoon for private talks at the White House with Michelle Obama.

Mr Brown is pinning his hopes for a UK recovery on co-ordinated international action to stimulate growth by pumping cash into the economy.

Speaking on talkSPORT radio, Mr Brown said Mr Obama was taking 'very difficult' economic decisions after taking office in the middle of a crisis. 'He is doing similar things to what we are doing in Britain,' he added.

Mr Brown believes Mr Obama's strategy of pumping money into the economy by raising public spending, pouring cash into stricken banks and offering tax cuts to those on low incomes is closely matched to his own package of spending increases. …