The gift of gaffe

Monday, March 9, 2009 Comments

After 8 years of liberal hand-wringing over what the rest of the world thinks of America (what with our "cowboy" president and all), I'm sure we're all happy to see how much higher an opinion the world has of us with them in charge of things.

After all, the administration only managed to offend two countries this week.

Apparently, the Obamas' treatment of Gordon and Sarah Brown of Britain wasn't exactly what they are used to, and was actually taken to be quite rude. Typically they have a full press conference when they visit, this time no press conference was planned, but when they asked a small one was hastily put together. And the exchange of gifts... well, I can only wonder what in the world was Obama thinking?

The Browns gave the Obamas an ornamental pen holder made from the wood of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet, the sister ship to the HMS Resolute, from which the oak was used to make the desk in the Oval Office. In addition, they gave the Obamas a framed commission for HMS Resolute, a first edition of the seven-volume biography of Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert, and for the Obama children, nice dresses with matching necklaces, and six children's books by British authors. All very thoughtful gifts.

What did the Obamas give them in return? A box of 25 DVD's (including such titles as "Psycho," "Star Wars," and "ET." Niiiice. And for their sons? Little plastic Marine One helicopters. I'm sure the boys will like the toy helicopters, but it just doesn't seem to have the same thoughtfulness to it.

This story hasn't received much coverage in the U.S., but as you can imagine, it's all over the news in England. And now the question has been raised as to whether the DVD's were actually compatible with British DVD players, which apparently use a different format. LOL.

Meanwhile, in Russia, Hillary Clinton presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a red button. A red button. From us to Russia. Anyone see any symbolism there that we might not want to be bringing up??

Anyway, the point of the red button was to be a "reset" button to "reset" our relationship with Russia. Cheesy like a block of Velveeta even if it had worked out, but as it turns out, no one in the State Department could appropriately translate the word "reset" into Russian, so what she actually gave him a button that said, "overcharged." Huh? When he pointed out the error, she laughed and said, "Well, we won't let you do that to us." Groan.

The Obama administration isn't out offending everyone though, they're actually considering reaching out to the Taliban. Can't wait to see how that goes.

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