Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Giftgate II

The good news about giftgate I was that President Obama promised that he was not going to bungle the gift for his meeting with Queen Elizabeth II. The bad news was that Obama's promises pretty much don't mean jack at this point. Here's the latest fiasco:
President and First Lady Obama gave Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II a video iPod with inscription, songs uploaded and accessories, plus a rare musical songbook signed by Richard Rodgers.

Uploaded onto the iPod:
  • Photos from the Queen's 2007 White House State Visit

  • Photos from the Queen's 2007 Jamestown, Va., Visit

  • Photos from the Queen's 2007 Richmond, Va., Visit

  • Video from the Queen's 1957 Jamestown Visit

  • Video from the Queen's 2007 Jamestown Visit

  • Video from the Queen's 2007 Richmond Visit

  • Photos from President Obama's Inauguration

  • Audio of then-state senator Obama's speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and

  • Audio of President Obama 2009 Inauguration Address
Britain's Press Association reports that the Royal couple gave the Obamas "a silver-framed, signed photograph of themselves."
The Royal couple's gift is, from what I've heard, the standard diplomatic gift -- that's no surprise after what happened to Gordon Brown.

Obama's gifts, on the other hand, are at least a step up from his standard "Dude, where's my car?" style of diplomacy to the kind of thoughtful gifts that one associates with, say, Bart and Lisa Simpson. One gift says "We could have bought something at Walmart, but we decided to be classy and hit the Apple store and YouTube instead." The other gift says "You're old. It's old. You should like it."

UPDATE: Obama's "Dude, where's my car?" style of diplomacy in action:
It's not everyday the American president's driver is told to move his bulletproof car.

But Queen Elizabeth II's handlers made the request Wednesday after President Barack Obama's reinforced Cadillac limousine was found to be blocking the garden entrance driveway at Buckingham Palace.

After it was moved, Jaguars carrying Prince Charles and other members of the Royal family pulled up for the queen's reception for leaders attending Thursday's G-20 summit.


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