January 20, 2009 / 4:45 PM / 10 years ago

Obama fans wax lyrical at Madame Tussauds

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Several hundred American tourists went to London’s Madame Tussauds on Tuesday to get a free view of their 44th U.S. president — or rather his wax double.

A worker stands on a ladder beside a newly-installed wax figure of President-elect Barack Obama at Madame Tussauds in Hong Kong, January 20, 2009, just before Obama takes office on Tuesday in Washington. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

“I am very excited to see Obama, even though it’s only a wax figure,” said Catherine Bucaria, a 19-year-old student from New York, one of those who took advantage of the free admission for U.S. passport holders.

“It’s a bit frustrating. I can’t witness such a historic event live, but at least in London everybody is very excited about it, so it’s a good feeling.”

About 75 percent of Tuesday’s visitors were Americans, who were not able to go to the inaugural parade in Washington.

Americans and Britons will mark Obama’s historic inauguration on Tuesday at different comedy shows, cocktail balls and rib steak parties across Britain.

“Since I got here, it seems people are just as excited about Obama coming into the presidency as we are back home. This puts a lot of pressure on him to save the whole world, I wasn’t expecting that when I came to London,” said Anna Webster, a 20-year-old journalism student from Boston.

What would Americans in London do if they met Obama in person? “I would say: ‘Good luck! There is a lot of pressure on you, but you have to keep a cool head’,” Tim Borbet said, a biochemistry student from New York.

A besuited, smiling Obama wax figure was unveiled in January standing with arms crossed in a recreation of the Oval office at the White House.

And what of the outgoing President George W. Bush?

“Bush’s wax figure will still stay in Madame Tussauds, along with other ex-world leaders,” said Liz Edwards said, Madame Tussauds’ spokeswoman.

Reporting by Martina Fuchs, Editing by Paul Casciato

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