"I don't think there's ever going to be an optimal point where we say: 'This is all done. This is perfect. This is just the way we wanted it,'" Obama said as the NATO summit closed. "This is a process, and it's sometimes a messy process."
Obama never spoke of victory.
At Camp David, Obama and leaders from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan and Russia were trying to calm the economic waters and perhaps the oil markets with a display of unity. They agreed that ailing Greece should remain a part of Europe's common currency, but conceded that there is no single prescription to stop Europe's economic troubles from multiplying and spreading around the world.
"The global recovery shows signs of promise, but significant headwinds persist," a joint statement said.
The summit was a get-acquainted session too, as such international meetings often are. This one was the first G-8 meeting for French President Francois Hollande, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. In what has been widely viewed as a snub, Russian President Vladimir Putin skipped the G-8 meeting, sending Medvedev in his place.
Obama chose the secluded Camp David setting in part to give leaders a chance for an intimate and freewheeling discussion out of sight of most media and far from the raucous protests that have accompanied previous meetings of the G-8. Obama and his counterparts emerged briefly at midday for a group photo, one of the set pieces of international summitry.
"Everybody give them one wave," Obama instructed the assembled leaders as they lined up for their official photo. "Let's look happy."
An AP News Analysis
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