The Obamas met Queen Elizabeth II in London on Wednesday on the eve of the G-20 economic summit. In her Thursday brief from London, "Obamas Offer Gifts of Music to the Queen," diplomacy reporter Helene Cooper seemed a little miffed the British press was actually scrutinizing the First Couple's diplomacy and finding it wanting:
Finally, an answer to the question consuming protocol watchers and tabloid reporters here: What did the Obamas give Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday when they arrived at Buckingham Palace?
President Obama and his wife, Michelle, met Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in London on Wednesday.
An Obama aide reported the queen was given an iPod loaded with video and photos of her 2007 trip to the United States, as well as songs and accessories. She also received a rare songbook signed by the composer Richard Rodgers.
The gift issue had come up after Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited the White House last month. Mr. Brown gave Mr. Obama a pen holder carved from the timber of an anti-slave ship, receiving in return a DVD box set of American movies, igniting a torrent of criticism in the British press....one thing is certain: that iPod better have some good songs, because if past is prologue, the British papers will be examining this gift for a while.
That last sentence is almost an admission that "American papers" will ignore any such diplomatic flubs made by Obama. Indeed, a Nexis search indicates this story marks the first occasion the print edition of the Timeshas reported Obama's gauche gift of a set of American DVDs (unplayable on British machines anyway) to British PM Gordon Brown. Columnists Roger Cohen and Maureen Dowd did briefly mock the gift gaffe in print.
And ABC's Jake Tapper reports what the Times didn't - the Queen's Ipod came loaded with two of Obama's very ownspeeches: His speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and his 2009 Inauguration Address. Lucky Queen!
Left unaccountably missing from Obama's egotisticalmix-tape: His big racial reconciliation speech in Philadelphia, a speech hailed by the Times at the time as Lincoln-esque, and a speech no one today can recall.
One can imagine the reaction if George W. Bush had presented Her Majesty with a similar gauche gift.