Obama's no 'lame duck', says US Ambassador John Berry

A strong speech by a man who’s no “lame duck” is how US Ambassador John Berry described President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Wednesday.

The newly minted Ambassador, who took over the role from former Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich late last year, addressed a packed room at the US Embassy in Canberra as he hosted a live telecast of the President’s sixth annual address.

Ambassador Berry welcomed guests, including Senator Nova Peris, for the speech which outlined reform for education, immigration and healthcare.

President Obama also spoke on increasing minimum wage and ensuring that women have equal wages at work, saying such discrimination was an embarrassment in 2014.

“It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a ‘Mad Men’ episode,” he said.

Speaking to Fairfax Media, Ambassador Berry said President Obama had laid out a clear agenda with “some strong steps”.

“It was a bold step and I think it shows that this president is not a lame duck,” he said.

“He is going to take strong actions through the remainder of his term.”

Ambassador Berry also spoke on his adjustment to life in Canberra after spending his first Christmas in the nation’s capital.

“It was quiet, but it was very peaceful,” he said.

“The travel schedule has been pretty hectic so it was actually nice to be able to relax and read a book for the first time since I’ve been here.”

Ambassador Berry said he was now looking forward to catching an AFL game in Manuka, having had the opportunity to attend the AFL grand final last year.

“So I started at the top, it was a great way to learn the sport and I love it,” he said.

“It’s as if you took American ice hockey with our college football and took away the pads.”

He said he hopes to return to Adelaide for the start of the AFL season, after meeting with more members of the Opposition.

The story Obama's no 'lame duck', says US Ambassador John Berry first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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