The heaviest snow to hit the Washington area for years has disrupted Gordon Brown’s hopes for a statesmanlike press conference with Barack Obama in the White House Rose Garden, which is now better suited to building snowmen.
The Brown and Obama camp are trying to arrange a separate “press opportunity” in the Oval Office, which – as one British official put it – will leave the prime minister without “flags and podiums” when he appears on the television news.
I’m not sure if pictures of the two of them chatting cosily in the Oval Office would not work better for a prime minister who is anxious to prove the “specialness” of the relationship between Britain and the US. Incidentally that relationship is now called “a partnership” in the White House – a term which perhaps suggests less long-term emotional commitment?
The formal talks with Mr Brown are scheduled for a paltry 30 minutes, less than Mr Obama appears to be setting aside for his meeting with the Boy Scouts of America this afternoon. But this is slightly unfair on Mr Brown – a lot of the real business will be done over a working lunch at the White House.
Officially Mr Brown wants Mr Obama to engage in planning for the G20 summit in London in April. But some nice pictures, a good atmosphere and – crucially – some Obama endorsement of his economic policies will be far more important in terms of domestic politics.
George Parker is the FT’s political editor