When recently meeting with the British Prime Minister, President Obama made a very careless mistake. As is custom when dignitaries meet, they give gifts. Gifts that should have meaning and symbolism to the receiver.
I hope the Brit’s don’t hold our president’s ridiculous idea of a gift against us. Please forgive us for HIS rudeness. Britain has been a friend and ally to this country for many,many years and this lack of forethought on our president’s part is completely unacceptable to many Americans.
A newspaper reports on March 3,2009:
Let’s hope he’s a Star Wars fan.
President Obama on Thursday gave British Prime Minister Gordon Brown a set of 25 classic American movies to mark his historic visit to the White House.
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.
Downing Street, which reportedly tried to keep the present a secret, declined to say what movies were included in the set.
“One reason for the secrecy might be that the gift seems markedly less generous and thoughtful than the presents taken to Washington by the Prime Minister,” London’s Evening Standard newspaper reported.
The Daily Mail, however, reported the movie set included ET, Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz and was produced by the American Film Institute on “special request” from the White House.
Brown, who is not known to be a movie buff, gave the president and his children several uniquely historical gifts.
The first of which is a pen holder fashioned from the oak timber of HMS Gannet, a Navy vessel that served on anti-slavery missions off Africa.
Another treasure given to Obama is a framed commissioning paper for the HMS Resolute, a Royal Navy ship that came to symbolize British-American goodwill when it was rescued by the U.S. from icebergs and given to Queen Victoria. It is the sister ship of the HMS Gannet.
Finally, Brown gave Obama a first edition of Martin Gilbert’s seven-volume biography of Winston Churchill, whose World War II partnership with President Franklin Roosevelt symbolized the U.S.-Anglo alliance.
For Sasha and Malia, Sarah Brown, the Prime Minister’s wife, gave each an outfit from Topshop, a British chain of clothing stores, and selected six children’s books by British authors which have yet to be published in the U.S.
In return, First Lady Michelle Obama presented the prime minister’s two boys with toy helicopters modeled after Marine One.
Obama was so touched by the gifts, he called Brown on board his plane on Thursday to thank him. The call was placed after Brown addressed a joint meeting of Congress, the White House said. The two reportedly spoke for 10 minutes.
The White House later issued a press briefing to put on record how much Obama appreciated the gifts.
“The pen set is being displayed on the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office and the books are in the President’s personal study adjoining the Oval Office,” the White House said in a statement.
During Brown’s first trip to America in the summer of 2007, he was given a fur-trimmed brown leather bomber jacket by President George W. Bush.
The prime minister’s reaction to the DVD set is not known.