Wasn't he here to see Harpo? Maybe he knows something we don't? or possiblely it's just Obama's "wishful thinking.....
THE OBAMA VISIT: IGGY'S 25 MINUTES
Compliments, common friends and some politics too
In a chat 10 minutes longer than planned, Ignatieff tries to show easy rapport with Obama
February 20, 2009
OTTAWA -- In the span of a 25-minute chat yesterday, Barack Obama complimented Michael Ignatieff's writing career, talked of common friends and, the Liberal Leader hopes, helped bolster his own political credentials as a prime-minister-in-waiting.
Mr. Ignatieff, who's only 10 weeks into his new job as Official Opposition Leader in Ottawa, emerged from his courtesy sit-down during Mr. Obama's presidential visit yesterday trying to demonstrate that he'd built an easy rapport with Mr. Obama.
Mr. Ignatieff suggested Mr. Obama was frank with him about the bewildering future of the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, which has already claimed the lives of 108 Canadian soldiers as well as hundreds of other NATO troops. "I said 'Canadians have a sense of strategic drift there. We don't know what the plan is.' He said, rather amusingly, that a lot of people in the White House feel exactly the same way."
Mr. Ignatieff's chat with Mr. Obama, a minor stop on the President's Canadian meeting schedule yesterday, nevertheless turned out better than the itinerary had originally suggested. Relegated to an aging hangar at Ottawa's airport, it ended up lasting 10 minutes longer than planned, Mr. Ignatieff noted for reporters, smiling. The Liberal Leader said he was particularly flattered when Mr. Obama
complimented him on books and articles he'd written before entering politics.
"It made this particular Canadian author feel pretty good," Mr. Ignatieff told reporters. "He didn't mention [any] books by name but said he'd read me before he was in politics, when he was a professor at law school."
But the Liberal Leader tried to dispel the impression he was claiming a special relationship with the popular President, despite the fact that both studied at Harvard University and are accomplished authors. "Kinship? Look, there's only one Barack Obama. ... I'm a politician in Canada. Let's keep it under control here."
He was clearly impressed with his Obama encounter, however. "I've been lucky in my life to meet famous people and some people seem smaller when you meet them. [Obama] was just as big as you think he is. He is a very, very big presence."
Mr. Ignatieff also appeared to be softening his stand on ending Canada's soldiering commitment to Afghanistan in 2011. He told Mr. Obama that Canada can't be expected to sign up for more when there is still confusion over the NATO mission's future. "What I said to the President very directly is, 'You can't get us to re-up [re-enlist] in a situation of strategic incoherence' ... and he heard what I was saying."
The Liberal Leader seemed to be leaving the door open to a possible Afghanistan mission extension when later asked whether he'd support a request by Mr. Obama to do just that. "We cross that bridge when we come to it," he said, saying right now the parliamentary resolution that ends the combat mission in less than three years is the rule the Liberals are heeding.
"We're bound by the parliamentary resolution. I've said clearly that our party's position, currently, is that the military phase of the mission ends in 2011."
Mr. Ignatieff said he pressed Mr. Obama on the increasing layers of anti-terror measures that were clogging cross-border commerce between the United States and Canada, saying the President understood the problem.
He said Mr. Obama also suggested his new Homeland Security Secretary also sees the Canadian border as less of a threat than the Mexican border