The Prime Minister gave Mr Obama an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet.In return, what did the Obamas present to the Browns?
The unique present delighted Mr Obama because oak from the Gannet's sister ship, HMS Resolute, was carved to make a desk that has sat in the Oval Office in the White House since 1880.
Mr Brown also handed over a framed commission for HMS Resolute and a first edition of the seven-volume biography of Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert.
In addition, Mr Brown and his wife showered gifts on the Obama children giving Sasha and Malia an outfit each from Topshop and six children's books by British authors which are shortly to be published in America.
Barack Obama, the leader of the world's richest country, gave the Prime Minister a box set of 25 classic American films - a gift about as exciting as a pair of socks.And for the kiddies:
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.Gifts, as the article points out, procured from the White House gift shop, costing about $13.00 apiece. Class act in the White House.
As for the dvds, it appears that the White House didn't even bother to get Brown Region 2 dvds that would play on a British dvd player. But it's all part of the thoughtfulness that would give a set of movies to a man who is almost legally blind. I'm sure he'll adore watching the 1927 silent film "The General".
And by the way, how did "Lawrence of Arabia" get into a supposed collection of 25 classic AMERICAN films?
This opens up a delightful vista before us, as we can fantasize about the gifts the Obamas will be presenting to heads of state over the next few years.
I suppose copies of The da Vinci Code and The Thorn Birds will be presented to the Pope, and the President of France (who no doubt will be THRILLED with the present of some American movies) will get Irma La Douce and his kids will get a collection of Pepe le Pew cartoons.
The American media sold themselves to convey Obama into the White House, and are still keeping up the happy-talk to try to hide what a buffoon he is. Even before the Inauguration, I said to Dean that they may be able to keep up a one-tone wall of sound in the U.S., but the same won't be true of the foreign press. They went along for the ride while it was fun, but they don't owe anything to Obama, and there's no particular reason for them to cover his ass. They haven't forgotten the pleasures of anti-Americanism, nor have their readers. It won't take many incidents like this to make them swing the taps all the way to hot again, and start in on Obama exactly where they left off with Bush. Then the American media will have a hard time trying to maintain the illusion that All Is Well, when the foreign papers start publishing insulting cartoons and derogatory editorials about Golden Boy. Judging by the Brits, that transformation has started already, and those people really know how to write nasty.