On the Plane

Welcoming Bush ... But Waiting For Obama

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania -- For a president in his last year in office, heading overseas is one sure-fire means of getting away from that annoying election campaign to succeed you for a little while. Or is it?


Tanzanian dancers wear "kanga", traditional African cloths, bearing the image of President Bush as as they perform for him at a social dinner held at the State House in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2008 (The Associated Press -- Charles Dharapak)

Turns out many of the folks President Bush is visiting here have been following the contest back in the United States almost as much as the Americans -- thanks to a favorite son, of sorts, in Barack Obama, the senator from Illinois whose father was born and grew up in neighboring Kenya. Many Africans are bristling with excitement over the idea that "one of our blood," as a shopkeeper in Mwenge market put it, could become president.

But Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete is no fool. He understands the difference between a would-be president and the real thing. And so when a reporter during a joint news conference with Bush today asked Kikwete about African enthusiasm for Obama's candidacy, he diplomatically played it down and heaped praise instead on the president who just gave him a five-year, $698 million aid package.

"Of course, people talk with excitement of Obama," Kikwete said. But he added, "For us, the most important thing is, let him be as good friend of Africa as President Bush has been."

As for Bush, he did not seem all that thrilled at the notion of being upstaged in his moment on the world stage. "It seemed like there was a lot of excitement for me -- wait a minute!" he said with a laugh. "Maybe you missed it."

-- Peter Baker

By washingtonpost.com Editors |  February 17, 2008; 6:30 PM ET  | Trip:  Bush in Africa, Feb. 2008
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Comments

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How Obama gets a free pass by the media and everyone else is beyond me!
He went to Kenya to speak in support of his terrorist friend, Odinga (Odinga says he's Obama's cousin), and even interrupted his campaign to call him. Odinga promised the hard-line Muslim faction that if elected president, he would force Islam on the country. He lost and riots resulted.
Odinga was behind the burning of a Christian church with 50 worshippers inside. He's interfering in African politics even before he's president!
Just what would happen if he became president?
More countries falling to Islam? Mass immigration of Muslim radicals??
Well, he told us he would "stand by the Muslims" in Audacity Of Hope...and so he has.

Posted by: cyberella | February 17, 2008 8:29 PM

What dumb statements you make Cyberella. Got your fame, someone replied your post.
Shut up if you don't have comething constructive to put out.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 17, 2008 10:20 PM

What's wrong, cyberella? Running out of the old lies, smears and innuendos? Or did you just get one of those "ooh! ooh! lookie here! shocking! shocking!" emails and can't wait to spread it around because you find truth and facts so boring?

Posted by: Tom J | February 17, 2008 11:08 PM

Cyberella, Keep your ignorance to yourself. Odinga may be a bad leader, but he is no terrorist. Obama has a right to talk to Odinga and all other leaders who are instrumental in resolving the current crisis. For your information the senator continues to talk to ordinary Kenyans directly through the media. While 70% of Kenyans are christians, 30% true bona fide, patriotic Kenyans are muslims, and all will live in peace.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 18, 2008 10:54 AM

I dunno if the author intended to do this, but the title reminded me of Beckett's 'Waiting for Godot.' I certainly hope we're not kept waiting for Obama. And yes Cyberella, that's really code for telling the muslims to come invade the US, specifically your house.

Posted by: Peter C. | February 18, 2008 12:38 PM

Yes..i do belive that Obama does have a right in speaking with ominga. But is OmingA really Obama's cousin?

Posted by: Robbert | February 18, 2008 10:04 PM

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