I see the city fathers are still banging on about inviting Obama to Liverpool (http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/liverpool-news/regional-news/2009/02/19/liverpool-council-sends-visit-invitation-to-barack-obama-92534-22960874/ ).
Eager to hype it up, Peter Elson's piece in the Daily Post begins:
"Hopes were high last night of President Barack Obama planning a visit to Liverpool in April."
Picture the scene inside the Oval Office: Flustered & sleep-deprived aides & advisers anxiously try to engage the Commander-in Chief's attention as they relay the latest news from Gaza, Iraq & Afghanistan. Another insider wants to raise the economy. Outside the office someone is shouting about climate change. Obama waves them all away with a dismissive hand & declares, "I need to plan my visit to Liverpool!"
Anyway, Richard Le Baron, the acting US Ambassador to the UK, has just spent two days in the city & is quoted in the Post's piece as saying that Obama "certainly would be interested" in paying a visit.
Mr Le Baron is a diplomat, don't forget.
Elsewhere in Elson's piece up pops the city's Lord Mayor, Steve Rotheram, the civic clown who recently declared that America owes much of its history to the Port of Liverpool. Mayor Rotheram comes up with another ejaculatory spurt of civic self-delusion:
"No other British city can match our US links, which is why I've signed and sent the letter today inviting President Obama to visit Liverpool."
Hmm, I'm sure the ports of Bristol, Plymouth & Southampton would have a short, sharp response to that one.
Flo Clucas, city council deputy leader, is also quoted:
"[Acting Ambassador Le Baron] was interested in the effect of the Obama factor in Britain and the impact of the recession on the city.
"What a fillip it would give Liverpool if President Obama were to visit."
At which point the sub-editor performs the trick of putting Le Baron's name immediately after Clucas' comments so as to give the casual or inattentive reader the fleeting impression that the quote could be ascribed to him.
As I've pointed out before, it's highly unlikely Obama will go anywhere outside London in April when Brown hosts the G20 summit. Which is just as well. An Obama visit to Liverpool would produce a series of nauseous hanging-out-with-Barack pieces from Phil Redmond, et al.