Into Africa

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ACCRA: President Clinton launched his Africa trip in Ghana today, riffing on Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech but finding his Ghanaian audience a little too exuberant for comfort.

“My dream for this trip is that together we might do the things so that 100 years from now your grandchildren and mine will look back and say this is the beginning of a new African renaissance,” said Clinton, putting an epic spin on a series of feel-good photo opportunities designed to showcase positive developments on the continent.

But when he waded out into the crowd to press the flesh, Clinton found himself on the verge of being mobbed and found himself shouting “Back up, back up!” as Ghanaian military officials beat back the crowd.

While the trip will be a welcome respite from scandal-obsessed Washington, TIME correspondent Marguerite Michaels believes the trip won’t all be smooth sailing. “This is a new generation of economically sharp African leaders with very strong ideas and their own approaches to issues of democracy,” says Michaels. “They don’t just buy everything that we sell. At times the President may hear views more frank than the White House is anticipating.”