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Obama's 'values' speech at Westminster

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Credit: PA Photos/ABACA/Newscom

(Read caption) President Obama delivers his keynote speech to both Houses of Parliament in the historic Westminster Hall in London, previously accorded only to a handful of eminent figures like Nelson Mandela, Charles de Gaulle, and the Pope.

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One thing President Obama knows how to do is give a good speech. He delivered one today before the British Parliament, which was gathered in London's majestic Westminster Hall where no US president has ever spoken before.

In a nutshell, the president focused on the democratic and free-market values that bind the United States and the United Kingdom, and that sustain their leadership role in the world.

Values talk can get poo-pooed as empty rhetoric. But this was the right time and place for today's speech, coming in the middle of the president's week-long tour of Europe.

It's been a particularly rocky decade between the US and Europe generally, with war and recession challenging the world's democracy leaders. Europeans have been looking for a "reset" in transatlantic relations. At the same time, a vital corner of the world is now reaching for the rights that Americans, Britons, and other Europeans enjoy – a confirmation that it is values, and not just policies, that drive people.

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