Nov. 16 - U.S. President Barack Obama attends a state dinner in Canberra where Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard jokes that she wants to make sure he is fed well. Nick Rowlands reports.
At a state dinner in Canberra, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard jokes that she must make sure U.S. President Barack Obama is well fed. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER, JULIA GILLARD: "And Mr President, I also wanted to say to you we've been a little bit nervous about tonight, because my partner, Tim, really got a talking to from the First Lady when we were in Hawaii. She said to him that you often don't eat because you are so focused on your work that you forget to eat, and she wanted to make sure that we fed you well in Australia. So, the only answer to that was to make sure that you had a hearty meal, and to make sure that there are six to seven hundred witnesses." Obama is on a two-day visit to Australia to discuss his country's vision for the Asia-Pacific region. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER, JULIA GILLARD: "You come to our country with all of the honours due to a head of state. You come as an ally, a partner, and as a friend." During his speech to the guests, Obama thanked Gillard for a productive meeting, and tried his hand at Australian slang. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED STATES PRESIDENT, BARACK OBAMA: "We listen to each other, we learn from each other. It's not just a lot of ear-bashing. That's a good one. Ear-bashing. I can use that in Washington. 'Cause there's a lot of ear-bashing sometimes." Obama went on to praise the 60-year alliance between the two countries. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED STATES PRESIDENT, BARACK OBAMA: "And we can say with confidence and with pride, the alliance between the United States and Australia is deeper and stronger than it has ever been. Spot-on. Cracker-jack. In top-nick. Thank you very much, everybody." Obama was due to make a speech to the Australian parliament on Thursday, before a whistle-stop tour to Darwin, then flying to the Indonesian island of Bali for an East Asia summit. Nick Rowlands, Reuters.