LONDON (AP) — Opponents of Scottish independence reacted with delight Thursday after President Barack Obama called for a "robust, united and effective" Britain.
Obama was asked for his opinion during a news conference with Prime Minister David Cameron after a meeting of the G-7 group of nations in Brussels.
He said that while the decision was up to Scottish voters, "we obviously have a deep interest in making sure that one of the closest allies we will ever have remains a strong, robust, united and effective partner."
American officials have largely refrained from expressing an opinion on whether Scotland should become an independent nation and end its 300-year union with England. Scottish voters will decide whether to go it alone in a referendum on Sept. 18.
"The United Kingdom has been an extraordinary partner to us," Obama said. "From the outside at least, it looks like things have worked pretty well."
The Better Together campaign, which is urging Scots to reject independence, quickly tweeted a variation on the famous Obama "Hope" poster bearing Obama's words under the heading "Nope."
Lawmaker Douglas Alexander, the Labour Party's Scottish affairs spokesman, said Obama's remarks were a "clear statement of support for the U.K. staying together."
Scotland's pro-independence First Minister Alex Salmond said Obama had been right to say it was a decision for the Scottish people, and quoted the president's famous phrase: "Yes we can."
He added, diplomatically, that when Scotland gained independence, the U.S. would have two allies instead of one.