- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 25, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - Obama the Great?

President Barack Obama was compared favorably to Alexander the Great on Wednesday during a White House reception honoring Greek Independence Day, with the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in America saying the president should follow the example of the ancient military conqueror to help solve some of Greece’s problems.

“I will tell Michelle that I’ve been compared to Alexander the Great,” the president told 200 guests, many of them Greek-Americans from Obama’s hometown of Chicago. “I will see whether that gets me a little more respect at home. At home she knows she’s still the boss.”

Obama said many of the Founding Fathers were students of Greek history and turned to ancient texts for guidance. He said it was a cruel irony that the Greeks tested democracy but then faced a struggle to achieve their own independence 188 years ago.

Archbishop Demetrios, primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, dressed in his black traditional headdress and robe, also noted the strong ties of freedom and democracy the two countries share. He said he prays every day for the president, and hopes that Obama will follow the “brilliant example of Alexander the Great” in helping Greece “cut the Gordian knot” of unresolved issues _ a reference to a legend involving Alexander and a difficult problem solved by bold action.

Those issues include Greece’s dispute with Macedonia over that country’s use of the name. Greece says the name “Macedonia” implies territorial claims on its own province of the same name and has vetoed Macedonia’s bid for NATO membership until the dispute is resolved.

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