Obama Says He Gives ‘Better Gifts’? Don’t Ask the Brits About That One

-By Warner Todd Huston

On yet another appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show, President Barack Obama broke his own arm patting himself on the back telling the talk show maven that he gives better gifts than he gets. As Chicago’s Lynn Sweet reports, “When it comes to gifts, President Obama says he gives ‘nicer stuff that I get,’ an assertion disputed by First Lady Michelle Obama.”

Barack had better hope that no one shows this episode to the Brits because they would fall off their easy chairs in laughter over Obama’s ill-considered claims. After the Obama’s perpetrated “giftgate” back in March, the Brits would beg to differ that Barack Obama gives good gifts.

The Obamas, Barack and Michelle both, pretty much diplomatically botched the March visit of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife. Oddly enough, the U.S. Old Media seemed uninterested in the story that was a hot topic in England, a story that left many Brits a bit miffed at the Obamas. It wasn’t just bad gifts that marred the visit, either.

As the visit of the national leader of our closest ally began, the President informed the Brits that he wouldn’t be attending the joint press conference that was planned to be held once PM Brown’s plane touched down. This threw the visiting delegation into a tizzy leaving them scrambling to explain the sudden change in plans to the folks back home. Still, meetings were had and things smoothed out. Eventually the visit seemed to right itself… then came the Obama’s gift gaffes.

It is well understood that visiting diplomatic delegations come bearing gifts and gift giving is returned in like fashion by the host country. It is an ages old human practice in diplomacy after all. Usually the gifts are valuable, representative of the products of the nations involved, or at least symbolic of the history of those nations.

For his part, PM Brown gave two symbolic gifts and one that expressed national pride. Brown came bearing a pen holder carved from the timbers of the sister ship of that which gave the wood to create the famous “Resolute Desk,” the desk that has been in America’s charge since 1880. He also gave Obama the framed commission for that famous ship, the HMS Resolute. His third gift was a seven-volume biography of one of England’s greatest leaders, Winston Churchill.

So, what did President Obama give the British PM? What soaring history, expression of friendship or national pride did Obama bestow on the leader of our closest ally? Well, he gave the British PM 25 movies on DVD. Yeah, that’s it. Brown gave a symbolic gift like the pen holder fashioned from a famous British warship and Obama apparently responded by sending a staffer to WalMart to pick up a few quick movies.

How thoughtful Obama was… or not.

And I’m not the only one to scoff at this thoughtless gift. The entire British press was up in arms. Many in Britain saw this as entirely gauche and indicative of the low esteem in which the Obama’s hold all of England.

Worse, no one is 100% sure that Obama was smart enough to know that DVDs made in America don’t play on European DVD players. American DVDs are created in the “Region One” format while those in Europe play in “Region Two” format. A U.S. DVD just won’t play on a machine made for the British market.

Not to be out done in tastelessness by her husband, Michelle got into the act, too. Mrs. Brown came bearing two outfits for the Obama girls from Topshop, one of Britain’s trendiest women’s wear retail outlets. In return, Michelle apparently had a staffer run down to a Washington gift shop and grab two toy Marine One helicopter models for the Brown’s boys.

Class all the way, huh?

All of that was on top of the snub of the Brits that Obama tossed off immediately upon entering office. One of his first official acts was to summarily return to the Brits the generous gift of the most famous bust of Winston Churchill that had sat in the Oval Office since the attacks on 9/11.

This threw British diplomats into a tizzy really blindsiding them. Even when they reiterated that Obama could keep the generous gift to the American people, he rejected it without comment leaving the Brits at a loss for words. So much for that claim that Obama was going to improve our relations with “the world” once he took office. So far, all he’s done is tell our enemies he’s their friend and carelessly wave off our actual friends.

Of course, the U.S. media did not report the outrage felt in England last March and likely, it won’t notice if the Brits look askance at Obama’s newest claim to be the second coming of Old Saint Nick himself.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, TheRealityCheck.org, RedState.com, Human Events Magazine, AmericanDailyReview.com, and the New Media Journal, among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events and is currently the co-host of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Conservatism” heard on BlogTalkRadio. Warner is also the editor of the Cook County Page for RedCounty.com.

He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of PubliusForum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

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