CRP Blog

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Report form London: Blair Steps Down, Schwarzenegger in the News

(LONDON) -- The political landscape on the Continent shifted dramatically for the second time in a week as the victory of Nicolas Sarkozy as President of France was followed by today's news that Tony Blair will step down as Prime Minister next month.

Blair brought the Labor Party back from more than a decade in the wilderness after leading an effort to move the party to the British political center, jettisoning the some of the often kooky far-left policy positions of "old" Labor to form "New Labor."

The press here is mixed, with Blair seen as something less than what he was when he led Labor to a landslide victory more than a decade ago. Labor lost heavily in local elections recently, and the party is divided over the war in Iraq. David Cameron, the Conservative party leader, is already on the attack against Gordon Brown, who will become the new PM in June.

In the United States, Tony Blair will be known for his solid support of President Bush and America's missions in Afghanistan following 9/11, and the ongoing mission in Iraq. Unlike other European leaders of left wing parties who distanced themselves from the US (Schroeder in Germany, for example), Blair's support was refreshingly solid, reinforcing the "special relationship" between the United States and Britain.

President Bush praised Blair, and Brown, in comments following news of the resignation. “I have found him to be a man who kept his word, which sometimes is rare in the political circles I run in,” the President said. “When Tony Blair tells you something, as we say in Texas, you can take it to the bank.”

Separately, Governor Schwarzenegger was in the news here today, albeit not forany political issue: coverage centered on the fact the Governor will not be the lead actor in Terminator 4, estimated for release in 2009.

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