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Obama and Cameron at G20 summit: At least the US-UK World Cup duel is over

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To name a few: stimulus spending or budget cutting to address the sputtering global recovery; military budgets, Afghanistan, and national capacities in the NATO Alliance; and the BP (formerly British Petroleum) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In the runup to this weekend’s G8 and G20 summits, Mr. Obama sent a letter to the G20 leaders warning that now, with the threat of a double-dip recession looming, was no time to be cutting spending but rather to be considering additional stimulus, especially to consumer spending. Perhaps Cameron was too busy to read the memo, because he was in the thick of announcing Britain’s most draconian spending cuts, and some hefty tax increases, in decades.

The prime minister told BBC television earlier this week that “there is no difference on [the need to foster economic growth] between us and the Americans.” But that may have been a sly way of sidestepping differences over the “how” of favoring growth.

“We must be flexible in adjusting the pace of consolidation and learn from the consequential mistakes of the past when stimulus was too quickly withdrawn and resulted in renewed economic hardships and recession,” Obama said (perhaps a wee bit pedantically) in his letter to G20 leaders.

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