Now Promenade Your Partner!
This kind of stuff drives me crazy. I didn’t like it when the Bush Administration used to reinterpret events on a regular basis, and I am disappointed to see the Obama Administration engage in the same sort of revisionism. I am of course referring to the now infamous Saudi bowing incident, and the Obama Administration’s absurd claim that the president did not bow to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia upon their meeting.
You can watch the clip here, and judge for yourself. Look for King Abdullah to extend his hand to Obama at 53 seconds into the clip. President Obama’s response may have been an awkward, twisty sort of half-bow, and perhaps he felt self-conscious about doing it, but it is clearly a bow to the king. Partisans and political observers can certainly debate the merits of whether Obama should have bowed, but I don’t think the presence of the gesture can be disputed. You may recall we went through a similar political dustup over President Bush’s hand-holding stroll with the king in 2005.
The issue of protocol aside, what is troubling to me is that Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and other administration officials continue to argue that Obama was simply bending over to greet the much shorter king. I had gotten used to the “don’t believe your own eyes” quality of much of the Bush Administration’s public statements, but had hoped the new press operations would take a more transparent approach. This particular episode is not an encouraging sign.

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