Obama tries slam-dunk diplomacy in NCAA tournament trip with Britain’s Cameron

Olivier Knox
The Ticket

President Barack Obama has an idea for emphasizing the "special relationship" between the United States and Great Britain on Tuesday: Road trip!

Obama and visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron will leave their wives behind in Washington and head to the battleground state of Ohio to catch a first-round NCAA tournament men's basketball game, White House spokesman Josh Earnest announced to reporters on Air Force One.

With their husbands in Dayton, first lady Michelle Obama and Cameron's wife, Samantha, "will remain in Washington and participate in an Olympics-themed event with Washington, D.C.-area children," he added.

It's not unusual for foreign leaders to embrace the opportunity to see the U.S. heartland rather than the airless corridors of power in Washington.

Such road-trip diplomacy has ample precedent: Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev visited Iowa in 1959 (a fantastic account, 50 years later, can be found here) and in more recent years President George W. Bush celebrated one of his best friends on the world stage, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, a passionate Elvis Presley fan, by taking him to the King's "Graceland" estate in Memphis.

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