Barack Obama Jokes About British Troops Burning Down The White House

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Barack Obama has joked about British troops setting fire to Washington as he welcomed David Cameron to the White House on Wednesday.

In August 1814 British soldiers captured the American capital and burnt several building to the ground including the home of the US President.

Speaking this afternoon Obama said: "It's 200 years since the British came to the White House under somewhat different circumstances."

"They made quite a impression, they really lit up the place," he joked. "But we've moved on."

Cameron is visiting the United States in order to hold talks with the president on a wide range of issues including plans to withdraw both UK and US forces from Afghanistan.

However before the serious work they have found time for a few light hearted moments - producing useful campaign photographs and television images for both men.

On Tuesday evening Obama took Cameron to Ohio to watch a basketball game. Today he said the prime minister had been educated in the method of "bracketology" - predicting basketball scores.

Obama said such was his enthusiasm for the sport Cameron had decided to install a hoop in the garden of 10 Downing Street.

Cameron told an audience of TV cameras and school children on the White House lawn today that he was "a little embarrassed to think 200 years ago my ancestors tried to burn this place down".

"Looking around me, you've got the place a little better defended today. You're clearly not taking any risks with the Brits this time."

Obama also joked that he was pleased not to have to speak through a translator to his foreign guests and tried out a few British slang terms.

"We Americans and Brits speak the same language, most of the time, so let me just sat david we are 'chuffed to bits' that you are here," he said.

"I'm confident together we are going to keep the relationship between our two nations 'top notch'."

Obama and Cameron both heaped praise on each other and their respective countries. The US President said the relationship between US and the UK was "rock solid" and "the strongest it has ever been".

While Cameron said "when the chips are down" Britain and American would always rely on each other.