While the female senior staff at Beit Hanassi was captivated by Barack Obama's looks and charisma on Wednesday, the US presidential candidate was himself mesmerized by President Shimon Peres during their 50-minute meeting. "He's gorgeous," "He's amazing," and "He's a real charmer," were some of the opinions of Obama voiced by the staffers who sat in on the meeting, where the Illinois senator hugged them all and happily posed for photos with them. But for most of time, Obama absorbed information from the elder statesman, asking occasional questions and making a comment here and there. In a reference to Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations, Obama described the country as "vibrant, democratic, hopeful and full of life," and noted that for most of the country's 60 years of existence, Peres had been part of that miracle. Obama said he was in the country to reaffirm America's commitment to Israel's security, and added that he wanted to be an "effective partner, whether as US senator or as president," to the promotion of lasting peace in the region. He also wanted to get Peres's recipe for looking so good at 85. Once inside the inner sanctum, Obama asked Peres to give him a complete analysis of Europe, the Middle East in general and Israel in particular. He was also keen to learn about Peres's Peace Valley brainchild and said that he could bring in a lot of investors. In addition, he was eager to hear what Israel was doing in terms of alternative energy, exactly how much progress had been made in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and what else America could do to advance the peace process. Peres told him that economic growth had a stronger influence on people than any military operation or any political decision. If America were to invest more in industrial zones, providing jobs and educating Palestinians, it would do a great deal toward peace, he said. He also made it clear that under no circumstances would Israel compromise the security of her citizens. What was to some extent slowing the pace of the peace process, he explained, was a sense of mistrust.