So, you’re the brand new President of the United States and you’re about to host your first State visit, a visit from the Prime Minister of Britain, one of America’s oldest and staunchest allies, Gordon Brown and his wife, what do you do?
Well, the first think you do is to humiliate your guest by canceling a press conference “because of snow”. You know, because it would have been really hard to just move it indoors.
White House cancels Brown press conference in Rose Garden
Gordon Brown’s attempts to portray himself as a global leader in a time of crisis have been dealt a blow by White House planners – and Washington’s worst snowstorm in years.
Downing Street officials discovered last night that Prime Minister would not, as had been widely reported, hold a joint press conference with President Obama after their talks at the White House today.
Instead, the White House press office announced what it called a “pool spray” – a few shouted questions from selected agency reporters as the two men sat down for talks and photographers clicked away.
After representations from British diplomats, it was agreed to hold open it up more widely and allow a total of four questions – two from each side – at a “press availability” in the Oval Office after the talks.
British officials, denying any deliberate snub, said that a slightly more formal event planned in the Rose Garden after the meeting had been cancelled because the grounds of the White House are blanketed in snow.
Brown faces humiliation after Obama ‘snub’
NOT SO BIG AFTER ALL? BROWN SNUBBED BY OBAMA
Some British Media Say Obama Snubbed Prime Minister; U.S. Lawmakers Unsure
Journo Blames Michelle Obama for President’s PM Brown ‘Snub’
Well, surely such an important ally would at least be honored with the traditional formal State dinner, right? Diplobamacy says no.
Snub Number 2
Despite the fact that Gordon Brown had become the first European leader to set foot in Washington (a very big deal for the Europeans, it seems), the Obamas failed to have Mr. Brown and his wife Sarah over for a White House dinner. Such formal receptions, especially considering that Gordon Brown represents America’s staunchest ally, is simply diplomatic protocol. Has the financial crisis become so bad that the White House could not afford a casserole? It’s the thought that counts, after all. I am half-tempted to believe that this incredible oversight is a very bad omen for Obama’s future relations with European leaders. Mr. Brown had to settle for a “working lunch” at the White House instead.
After making their invited guests feel thoroughly unwelcome, the Obamas did participate in the customary exchange of gifts. Care to guess how that went?
Sarah Brown’s very British fashion gift for Michelle Obama
As if slumber parties in the White House and secret visits from the Jonas Brothers weren’t enough to bring little Malia and Sasha Obama kudos (forget their parents for a second), now Sarah Brown’s given them the ultimate Briish fashion gift – Topshop clothes! The Prime Minister’s wife arrived for her First Ladies’ summit with Michelle Obama yesterday bearing a dress and necklace from Topshop, which has yet to launch in the US.
How thoughtful of Mrs. Brown. And how did Michelle reciprocate? She sent an aide to the White House gift shop with $30. How cool is that?
First Lady Michelle Obama shows even she has a gift for the gaffe
In return Mrs Obama gave the Brown children, Fraser and John, two toy models of Marine One, the Presidential helicopter. Fair enough on the helicopter part, always a popular choice with small boys; but Marine One? It’s not as though anyone needs reminding that Barack Obama is President or that he has his own helicopter. Short of giving the boys Action Man models of her own husband smiting the evil forces of neoconservatism, Mrs Obama’s gesture could not have been more solipsistic or more inherently dismissive of Mrs Brown.
Not only did she demonstrate that she spent approximately three seconds contemplating the needs of the Brown boys (having an aide pop to the White House gift shop for a piece of merchandising does not imply a great deal of thought), she appeared to show a most uncharacteristic lapse of judgment.
And what gifts did the two heads of state exchange? What did Gordon Brown give Obama?
Pen holder from ship’s timbers to seal friendship
THE Prime Minister will give Barack Obama a pen holder carved from antique ship’s timbers to symbolise Anglo-US friendship.
The gift was made at Chatham docks from oak from HMS Gannet, which was launched in 1878.
The timbers of its sister ship, HMS Resolute, were used for the desk in the Oval Office.
The Resolute was one of the ships which, in 1845, went to find British explorer Sir John Franklin, who disappeared after setting off to discover the North-West Passage. The Resolute itself became trapped by ice and was abandoned by its crew. Three years later it was found 1,200 miles away by an American whaler. Although the British waived their claim to the ship the Americans gave it back as a token of peace. The desk made from its timbers has been used by almost every US president. JFK’s son was pictured hiding under it while his father worked.
Wow, now that’s a historic, special, thoughtful gift for the President of the United States. Surely Obama gave the Prime Minister of Britain an equally appropriate and impressive gift, right? Diplobamacy says no. He even outdid his wife in terms of abject crassness.
Obama’s Blockbuster Gift for Brown: 25 DVDs
While the British prime minister presented Obama with uniquely historic gifts symbolizing America’s relationship with England, the president gave Brown a set of movies.
Let’s hope he’s a Star Wars fan.
President Obama gave British Prime Minister Gordon Brown a set of 25 classic American films to mark his historic visit to the White House, British media reported on Friday.
Brown, the first European leader to visit Obama since his Jan. 20 inauguration, was presented with a “special collector’s box” of DVDs during his two-day visit to Washington.
My God, what an absolute jerk, why not just give Brown an Amazon gift card? At least then he could pick out some cheap crap he might actually like. This is the leader of the free world? This is how he treats his official guests?
It would be funny if the DVDs Mr Obama gave Mr Brown were Region 1 NTSC and therefore not compatible with the UK where DVDs are region 2 and video format is PAL.
Fab Flash: Sarah Brown Delivers Fashion Gift to US
Michelle’s $15 gift for the boys
Dockyard gift from PM to Obama
HMS Gannet (1878)
Explore HMS Gannet (1878)
The Historic Dockyard Chatham, one of Kent’s premier Visitor Attractions
London aghast at President Obama over gifts given to Prime Minister Brown
Obama’s not-so-special gift to top Brit
To my special friend Gordon, 25 DVDs: Obama gives Brown a set of classic movies. Let’s hope he likes the Wizard of Oz
DVD & Video formats of the World
Think Obama and his wife can do any more damage to U.S. – U.K, relations? Stay tuned!
President Obama expected to meet the Queen next month
US president Barack Obama is expected to meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace when he visits Britain next month.
There was no official confirmation from the Palace, the Foreign Office or the US Embassy in London of reports that the president will have an informal “getting to know you” session with the Queen ahead of the G20 summit of the world’s leading economies on April 2.
But detailed reports in a number of newspapers suggested Mr Obama will fly into Stansted Airport with wife Michelle on March 31 – two days ahead of the economic summit – and have an audience with the Queen the following day.
In a statement, the White House confirmed Mr Obama’s visit to Europe will begin on March 31 in the United Kingdom.
An audience with the Queen would be unusual, as these usually take place only on official state visits to the UK.
President Obama to meet the Queen
Queen Elizabeth to receive Obama and wife, say British reports
Obama set for Palace audience with Queen
Home – G20
Official Stansted Airport website
Will Michelle curtsy to the Queen or will the Queen curtsy to Michelle?
/we’ll just have to wait to find out but one thing’s for sure, in the world of Diplobamacy, hilarity is bound to ensue!
Barack Obama ‘too tired’ to give proper welcome to Gordon Brown
Barack Obama’s offhand approach to Gordon Brown’s Washington visit last week came about because the president has facing exhaustion over America’s economic crisis and is unable to focus on foreign affairs, the Sunday Telegraph has been told.
Sources close to the White House say Mr Obama and his staff have been “overwhelmed” by the economic meltdown and have voiced concerns that the new president is not getting enough rest.
. . .
But Washington figures with access to Mr Obama’s inner circle explained the slight by saying that those high up in the administration have had little time to deal with international matters, let alone the diplomatic niceties of the special relationship.
Allies of Mr Obama say his weary appearance in the Oval Office with Mr Brown illustrates the strain he is now under, and the president’s surprise at the sheer volume of business that crosses his desk.
A well-connected Washington figure, who is close to members of Mr Obama’s inner circle, expressed concern that Mr Obama had failed so far to “even fake an interest in foreign policy”.
It’s only been six weeks and already he can’t handle the job?
/this does not bode well for America, what manner of utter lightweight have we elected?
Filed under: Blog Entry | Tagged: Barack Obama, Britain, Buckingham Palace, Chatham Dockyard, DVDs, G20 Summit, Gordon Brown, HMS Gannet, HMS Resolute, London, Michelle Obama, Queen Elizabeth II, Rose Garden, Sarah Brown, Stansted Airport, Topshop, U.K., United Kingdom | 2 Comments »