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Barack Obama reveals how he once had a ‘crush’ on a Qantas flight attendant

Barack Obama revealed he once had a ‘crush’ on a Qantas flight attendant – as he started his lucrative Australia speaking tour on Tuesday night. 

The ex-US President sat down with former foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop in Sydney, with people paying hundreds to hear him discuss leadership and other issues, including China. 

The sold out audience was kept waiting for more than 20 minutes for the event to start, after it was delayed because ‘massive’ queues were still trying to get into the International Convention Centre at the 7.45pm start time. 

Despite the delay, Obama still received a standing ovation from the crowd after taking to the stage to the sounds of Stevie Wonder.

The ovation was a stark contrast to earlier on Tuesday, when Sydney residents slammed the ex-President for the huge motorcade that carried him and his wife Michelle through the city. 

Obama opened his talk by hailing Sydney and describing his love for the city.   

‘Sydney is fantastic, we have had such a wonderful time here, it’s one of the world’s great cities.’

Discussing his first time visiting as an eight-year-old, he added: ‘I was travelling from Indonesia where my mother was living at the time, to my grandparents in Hawaii and I was travelling unaccompanied,’ he said, describing his first trip. 

‘We had to stop for a day for the connecting flight and Qantas stewardess took very good care of me.’

‘I had a big crush on her,’ he said.

Ex-US President Barack Obama was spotted enjoying a late afternoon coffee on Tuesday

Former US President Barack Obama is currently in Australia for a speaking tour, hosted by former Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop (centre). The 66-year-old posed at the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney in a Carla Zampatti cream suit valued at a total of $1848

Former US President Barack Obama is currently in Australia for a speaking tour, hosted by former Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop (centre). The 66-year-old posed at the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney in a Carla Zampatti cream suit valued at a total of $1848

‘I felt very sophisticated, very worldly, travelling on my own and so that’s my first association with Sydney.

‘And it just keeps getting better every time I come back.’

The event was hosted by Ms Bishop and the 66-year-old spared no expense, turning up in a Carla Zampatti cream suit valued at a total of $1848.

As well as the sell-out crowd, around 500 people tuned into the talk online, with tickets to buy a link to the stream selling for around $400. 

It is the first stage of a whistle-stop tour that will also see the former president speak in Melbourne on Wednesday.

The event offers Australians – willing to spend between $195 and $895 – a firsthand account from the politician on his ‘path to success’.

Wiradjuri woman Yvonne Weldon offered a welcome to country, before Mr Obama and Ms Bishop walked onto the stage to loud applause.

The former President was quizzed by Ms Bishop on the rise of China, he complimented President Xi Jinping on his ‘forceful and confident’ demeanour.

Mr Obama said China began to change ‘after I left office’, with the country beginning to crack down on liberties inside its borders after President Xi sensed that the next US leader – Donald Trump – would be more lenient.

‘With my successor coming in, I think he saw an opportunity because the US president didn’t seem to care that much about a rules-based international system,’ Mr Obama said.

‘And so as a consequence, I think China’s attitude as well, we can take advantage of what appears to be a vacuum internationally on a lot of these issues.’

Former first lady Michelle Obama leaves the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney. She was later seen enjoying a yacht trip in the north of the city

Former first lady Michelle Obama leaves the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney. She was later seen enjoying a yacht trip in the north of the city

He said that the relationship between the US and China is ‘significantly strained’ and that tensions aren’t ‘going to go away anytime soon’.

‘Nor should they, because I think there are some fundamental differences in terms of how we operate when you look at the South China Sea,’ he told the crowd.

‘The fact of the matter is, is that if China starts claiming what had previously been international waters that is going to make life difficult for its neighbours, and for everyone, long term, I don’t even think it’s going to be good for China.’

Obama and his wife Michelle touched down in Australia on Sunday night ahead of his speaking tour and have since visited several locations, including the Opera House and Balmoral Beach. 

The ex-President was spotted enjoying an afternoon coffee on Tuesday, while Michelle took to Mosman Bay in a yacht, cruising around the harbour for about an hour.

However, the couple have come under fire from locals who have blasted the ‘nuisance’ motorcade that is transporting them through the city. 

Some have asked for information on who is paying for the convoy of black four-wheel-drives, while others have questioned why Obama has such a large security presence for an ex-President. 

Barack Obama waves to onlookers as he leaves his 5-star Sydney hotel on Tuesday

Barack Obama waves to onlookers as he leaves his 5-star Sydney hotel on Tuesday 

Obama and his wife Michelle touched down in Australia on Sunday night ahead of his speaking tour

Obama and his wife Michelle touched down in Australia on Sunday night ahead of his speaking tour

However, the lucrative nature of the event has seen him come under some criticism from some Sydney residents unhappy with his motorcade. 

Taking to social media, one critic asked: ‘Barack Obama is running around the country with a 20 vehicle motorcade. 

‘Why is the NSW taxpayer bearing the cost of his detail? For goodness sake, he’s going to make $1 million or more on his speaking tour, so HE should pay for it.’

Another wrote: ‘One can only hope Barrack Obama and wife Michael waved to the homeless as he swept past in his taxpayer funded motorcade.’

While a third said: ‘Flew in on a private jet. Uses this many gas guzzlers & our police force because he’s ‘oh so important’.

‘Lectures us on climate change.’

Barack Obama cut a suave image as he greeted fans ahead of his lucrative speaking event on Tuesday night

Barack Obama cut a suave image as he greeted fans ahead of his lucrative speaking event on Tuesday night

Former US President Barack Obama (centre) waves to onlookers after leaving the Bathers Pavilion in Balmoral  on Monday

Former US President Barack Obama (centre) waves to onlookers after leaving the Bathers Pavilion in Balmoral  on Monday

Obama was welcomed by swarms of fans on Tuesday morning as he stepped out of the Four Seasons Hotel. 

The security presence around the former President was massive on Tuesday, with throngs of police officers lining the streets outside of the Four Seasons. 

President Obama’s last official visit to Australia was for the G20 Summit in Brisbane in November 2014 – and prior to disembarking a private jet with Michelle on Sunday, had not been seen in public with his wife since last year. 

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese hosted Obama at Kirribilli House on  Monday morning. 

The presidential pair were all smiles as they posed together for the camera, taking in the view by the harbour while holding black umbrellas amidst a subtle drizzle. 

‘Honoured to welcome President @barackobama to Sydney,’ Albanese captioned  the post to Twitter, which has since been viewed more than one million times.

President Obama’s last official visit to Australia was for the G20 Summit in Brisbane in November 2014 – and prior to disembarking a private jet with Michelle on Sunday, had not been seen in public with his wife since last year.

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