miliband obama
Ed Miliband tweeted this photo of his meeting with US President Barack ObamaPete Souza/White House

If there is one picture all opposition party leaders want to stick into their family album it is of them standing alongside a US president. Almost any US President will do.

And with just 10 months to go to a general election, it is the picture and video of a meeting with the biggest kid in the playground that Ed Miliband desperately wants for his election broadcasts.

And he is apparently happy to risk the criticism he is sucking up to the president, a view that has always dogged UK leaders but has grown after the controversial alliance between Tony Blair and George Bush.

The desire to be seen chumming it up with POTUS (President of the United States of America) is an understandable one. All opposition leaders are, at some time or another, told they don't look like a prime minister and that voters can't see them cutting the mustard on the world stage.

Miliband is suffering from that image problem a bit too close to the general election for his, and his party's comfort. So a meeting with the most powerful man on the planet should help dispel that impression.

But previous prime ministers and opposition leaders have suffered the consequences of these meetings not going according to plan and, with a US President who is not hugely bothered about relations with the UK, there is always the possibility Miliband could suffer the same fate.

The meeting, which Miliband's team have been pressing for for many weeks, is already being described in Washington as a "brush-by", hardly substantial then. But at least it is better than the brush-off which former leader Neil Kinnock suffered at the hands of Ronald Reagan in 1986 who kept him waiting, then publicly criticised Labour's nuclear disarmament policy.

But at least that could be put down to inevitable differences between a Republican president and a Labour leader.

Yet former prime minister Gordon Brown fared little better when he met with Obama in 2009 in a hugely-embarrassing few moments in the kitchens at the UN building where he was presented with a "last-minute gift" of a box of DVDs not playable in the UK.

Miliband will hope to do better, although the meeting has not been scheduled in the President's official diary for the day and may even fall victim to the escalating crisis over Ukraine.

And there remains irritation in the White House over Miliband's part in the Commons vote last year which stopped action against Syria and forced Obama to back away from action.

But at the moment it appears Miliband will get his photo opportunity and, assuming he gets the footage of a handshake and a greeting and doesn't drop a clanger, he can safely bank the event for future use.

Brown's former spin doctor Damian McBride had some words of encouragement for Miliband's team, telling them in a newspaper article that they needn't worry too much.

"The reality is that every presidential summit, visit, brush-by, drop-in and walk-and-talk is nowadays so stage-managed that only someone as afflicted by bad luck as as Gordon Brown could ever come a cropper."

In a sense, then, it will matter little to Miliband if he fails to get much media coverage for his brief brush-by, he will simply lock the footage away for future use in those election broadcasts.

Anything more positive than that would be a huge and unexpected bonus.