Obama mocks toast blooper

By Raphael G. Satter

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, May 25 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

LONDON — A musical miscue cut into his toast to Queen Elizabeth II but President Barack Obama didn't miss a beat.

The president had just raised his glass and had begun offering a toast at a lavish state dinner at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday night when the band, apparently thinking he was through, struck up "God Save the Queen" a tad too soon.

Without missing a beat, Obama kept talking over the music. He praised the relationship between the U.S. and Britain and even quoted Shakespeare.

On Wednesday, he made light of the situation.

Obama told Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg as they settled in for a meeting that the band effectively provided a soundtrack for his closing passage.

"It was like out of the movies, where the sound effect kind of comes in," Obama said.

Clegg, who was a guest at the dinner, told Obama the music had added "a crescendo" to his words.

Bangers but no mash?

Obama and David Cameron, Britain's prime minister, served sausages and burgers at a barbecue their wives arranged in the gardens of Cameron's official 10 Downing St. residence to honor retired and active duty service members from both countries and their families.

Cameron quipped afterward about the opportunity he had to "grill" an American president.

As Michelle Obama and Samantha Cameron served potatoes and Caesar salad, respectively, Obama and Cameron wandered first to the grills, then to a second station where Obama served pre-cooked sausages, or bangers, and Cameron dished up grilled burgers.

Cameron said the event was a reminder of the debt owed to all service members and their families. Both the Obamas and the Camerons are working in their countries to focus public attention on military families.

"It was also probably the first time in history, as we stood behind that barbecue, that I can say a British prime minister has given an American president a bit of a grilling," Cameron said. "So I'm going to hold on to that."

The royal family can't seem to get enough of Obama.

As Obama and Cameron commanded center stage at an outdoor news conference at Lancaster House, Prince Charles' wife was seen watching from the balcony of her home at next-door Clarence House.

Camilla Parker Bowles, who is also the Duchess of Cornwall, and a few female friends were on the balcony for several minutes before they retreated indoors.

The prince and Bowles were the first members of the royal family to welcome the Obamas on their state visit to England.

Plush toys, jewelry and books were among the gifts exchanged by the Obamas and the Camerons, according to their offices.

The Obamas gave the prime minister a pair of White House Magnolia wood and sterling silver cufflinks engraved with Obama's signature, and Cameron's wife received a sterling silver cuff bracelet also adorned with wood from the White House Magnolia that fell during a February 2009 snowstorm.

Each of Cameron's children received a signed copy of Obama's children's book, "Of Thee I Sing." The two oldest children, Nancy and Elwen, also were given toy scooters while Florence, born last August, got a hand-crafted wooden jigsaw puzzle of the Obama family dog, Bo, and a Bo stuffed-animal.

The Camerons gave the Obamas a modern wall hanging by a London rug company featuring a Union Flag background and patterned with the American Eagle, the Stars and Stripes, flowers, butterflies and the dates of the U.S. president's state visit.

They offered Malia and Sasha Obama charm bracelets with their initials. The girls did not accompany their parents on the trip.

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