Obama White House has the Gift of Gaffe

By Rick Saunders & Jeff Schreiber
America’s Right

Maybe Barack Obama was just upset that the British Prime Minister didn’t bring him gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Either way, the president and first lady managed to embarrass the Brits–and themselves–for the third time with lackluster gift choices for their counterparts from across the pond. Now, Obama apparently would like to meet the Queen. We’ll see about that; after all, his track record is already lacking, and we’re not so sure that the Queen is keen on the “fist-pound.”

The first embarrassment came within the initial stages of Obama’s presidency, when he sent a bust of Winston Churchill given to former President George W. Bush back to the British Embassy.

The second embarrassment came on British PM Gordon Brown’s first official visit to the Obama White House, when the president decided that an informal question-and-answer session in the Oval Office would be better than the official pomp-and-circumstance of a flag-draped joint press conference, the type seen time and time again during the Bush administration as a sign of just how special the “special relationship” is between the United States and U.K.

The third embarrassment came yesterday, when details of the customary gift exchange between world leaders and their families emerged in the British press. The lack of thought put into the gifts coming from our side of the Atlantic was enough for the Telegraph’s Iain Martin to write this:

If Obama, or someone in his inner circle, had spent two minutes thinking about what present to get Brown then they could easily have come up with something appropriate. He likes books. He loves American history. Get him a signed first edition of a good Robert Dallek book such as the brilliant Flawed Giant on LBJ. Come to think of it, Obama should read it too, if he hasn’t yet, as it reveals a great deal about how a Presidency can go so wrong.

Gordon Brown had given Obama an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet, which was once called HMS President. London’s Daily Mail noted that Brown’s “unique present delighted Mr. Obama because oak from the Gannet’s sister ship, HMS Resolute, was carved to make a desk that already takes its place in the Oval Office in the White House, after being presented by Britain to the U.S. in 1880.” Now that, Virginia, was a gift supported with some thought.

Some time later, Sarah Brown (the Prime Minister’s wife) showered little Sasha and Malia Obama with gifts, including a half-dozen carefully selected children’s books by British authors not yet available in the States, and outfits from British boutique Topshop, which just recently opened up its first American location in New York City.

First Lady Michelle Obama, however, apparently sent a helper down to the White House gift shop and picked up, for the Browns’ sons Fraser and John, two models of the presidential helicopter, Marine One. Each model, it seems, retails for $15 in the aforementioned gift shop. How thoughtful.

It sounds like the presidential equivalent of picking up a last minute gift from the local Walgreens on the way to the baby shower.

The British press referred to Michelle Obama’s gift to the Brown sons as “solipsistic.” To those of us with less than an Obama-like Ivy League education, that refers to solipsism, the philosophical idea that “my mind is the only thing that I know exists.” Take a few seconds to remember how Michelle Obama was finally–finally!–proud of her country for the first time when her husband was running for president, and “solipsistic” seems to fit the First Lady like a glove.

British journalist Sarah Vines explained a little better in a column for the Times:

Like all good guests, Sarah Brown arrived bearing gifts for the children, Malia and Sasha. And they were really nice presents. A bit of thought had clearly gone into choosing them: Top Shop dresses (with matching necklaces) and a selection of books by British authors. Lovely.

Mrs Brown may have two boys but she certainly knows the way to a little girl’s heart. These were gifts chosen in the true spirit of present-giving: to please the recipient, not the giver.

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.

Not only did she demonstrate that she spent approximately three seconds contemplating the needs of the Brown boys (having an aide pop to the White House gift shop for a piece of merchandising does not imply a great deal of thought), she appeared to show a most uncharacteristic lapse of judgment.

It might have been possible to overlook the incident were it not for the official photograph.

The White House released one picture of the two women and it does not appear to have been selected with any kind of special relationship in mind. There is a menacing bunch of pink peonies in the foreground and the angle is most unflattering to Mrs Brown, who has the air of a woman very much in need of a stiff drink.

Whether deliberate or not, the whole thing feels like a snub.

As for Fraser and John, their parents’ trip to America will always be remembered as the time that “Mum and Dad went to see the President, and all we got was this lousy plastic helicopter”.

And they say former President Bush lacked class.

To make matters worse, and to make the Obama White House look even more amateurish, President Obama returned the favor on the British PM’s thoughtful gift with what
the London press derisively–yet accurately and politely–calls a “blockbuster” gift . . . a collection of 25 DVDs spanning a variety of American classic movies. Worse, they weren’t even in Blu Ray.

The Daily Mail also wasn’t impressed, noting earlier yesterday that Brown is not known “for his love of cinema, although he once claimed on a trip to India that he was an admirer of Bollywood” and comparing Obama’s choice of gifts to “receiving a pair of socks from an unfamiliar aunt at Christmas.” The full quote:

. . . despite being leader of the world’s most bountiful nation, President Obama handed over nothing more thought-provoking than 25 classic American films on DVD. It was the equivalent of receiving a pair of socks from an unfamiliar aunt at Christmas – and a less-than-glowing affirmation of the UK-US bond.

Honestly, we at America’s Right are of the opinion that the Daily Mail needs to get a grip. What else, after all, did they expect? These folks are from Southside Chicago. You expected, maybe, something sophisticated or unique?

Interestingly, No. 10 Downing Street–the official address of the Prime Minister–refused to disclose which films were replicated on the DVDs. The Mail soon discovered, however, that the American Film Institute produced a box set of 25 top U.S. movies as a “special request” for the White House last month. The list of the films in that “special order” set includes, among others, “Casablanca” (arguably the best movie ever made), “Gone with the Wind,” “On the Waterfront,” “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Grapes of Wrath.”

Coming in at No. 13 on the American Film Institute list: “Star Wars: Episode IV,” though the Daily Mail and/or the Film Institute list excises part of the film’s title, the part after the Roman numeral “IV” being: “A New Hope.” Perhaps the original selection from the half-dozen Star Wars films was “Star Wars: Episode 1, The Phantom Menace,” though it would have been undoubtedly replaced when it dawned on someone that, with Obama’s radical roots presenting themselves in his economic policies, perhaps the suggestion that part of the gift include a “phantom menace” reference was not such a good idea. Besides, “A New Hope” has such a nicer cachet and ring to it. Pity George Lucas didn’t have time to incorporate a theme of “change.”

One other DVD noticeably missing from the set: “The Manchurian Candidate.” Go figure. Perhaps Gordon Brown has seen that one already. If not, perhaps we could give him a preview.

Rick Saunders is a freelance writer who splits his time between endeavors in southern California and the American southwest. He began writing for America’s Right in December 2008. Jeff Schreiber started America’s Right in January 2008.



  1. Anonymous says:

    You have two unsophisticated Blacks who are imagining that they are presidential and first lady material when they have had no experience in any form or manner except being a ‘community organizer’ and a part time lawyer. Being a president requires a lot more than the experience Obama has had and being a first lady requires that you know what a lady is.
    Now I hear that Obama is on the campaign trail again. Proof enough that he doesn’t have what it takes to be a President. As he said before, ‘It’s above my pay grade’.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The Queen probably can anticiapate something like “hold on sweetie” out of the mouth of Mr. Obama. Can he take his teleprompter with him on the visit.

  3. PattyW says:

    It was been apparent from the inaugural address that Obama has no class. To bad-mouth the outgoing president WHILE HE IS SITTING THERE is an outrage! And I know I’m not the only one who has heard his “accent” change depending upon who he is speaking to. He is an arrogant tactless slob and his wife is no better!

  4. Anonymous says:

    “You can take the boy out of the hood, but you can’t take the hood out of the boy.”

    George Jefferson

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is so pathetic but you just have to laugh! I had heard about the bust of Sir Winston being returned and my first thought was he had no right to do that….if you didn’t bring it with you, buddy, it belongs to the American people…keep your hands off! Now, as far as the gifts for the Browns, I’m sure he is an avid reader so Obama could have given him something like “The Audacity of Deceit” or “Obsession” or something by Saul Alinski. This along with Hillary Clinton giving the Russian Foreign Minister a pen which was supposed to have “reset” (as in reset our relations with Russia) but the pen had the Russian word for “overcharge”. I’m sure Brown’s children will enjoy the plastic helicopters…I wonder if they were ‘Made in Japan’…Michelle, my belle is so classy…maybe she showed off her ‘guns’ to the Browns.

  6. ladalang says:

    I think it’s hilarious, you can’t buy class. We have our change; tacky cheap and classless.

  7. Portuguese Revolutionary Patriot- Peter Francisco says:


    I’ll state it in simple terms so even you OVER-EDUCATED Google Genius Erosionists can understand.

    The Brittish acted like a woman does before Valentines Day they though about the gift prepared and bought or had made something well thought out for the occasion with sentimental value that will be cherished in the archives of Diplomatic History of our long relationship with them.

    The ObaMORONS acted like the man on Valentines Day they remembered Damn the Browns are here and we didn’t plan and now we have to give a Gift or it will be embarassing so they looked around and found some junkets or sent staffers down to the DC 24 hr 7-Eleven. . . . .Remember No Gift, No Nookie. . .

    UNDERSTAND NOW? . . . BTW I am a MALE. . . .

    Obama, The PONZI PREZ are just Squatters in the People’s White House. . . . . Obama LIED Hope DIED. . . . .

    http://www.GlobeMagazine.com http://www.DefendOurFreedoms.us

    Obama Lied Hope Died

  8. dc says:

    They’re TAKERS not GIVERS.
    They’re cheap, except when it comes to treating themselves.

    Try to name 1 thing they have done that is not self-serving and note worth – that “helps” edify Americans, constructively, with “wholesome” results?

    Who paid for their schooling? Tax payers. Are they using their schooling to benefit America and give back … or naught?

    They would do well to ask the Living God for 1st ‘forgiveness.’ Then to “fill them with true Charity and Love” for mankind.

    To “Change” their focus from “What can we get?” into, “LORD make us good stewards of America and those who have placed their trust in us to do a good job. Help us to do what is right and best, in your eyes, for those we serve. Thank you. Amen.”
    Until that happens: If I were the Queen I’d say, “No thanks. Next.”
    Here’s something that wraps it all up when it comes to “who he is … really.”
    “America, I do so appreciate your stupidity and naivety !”

    Barak Hussein Obama – Who is he?
    By Ted Sampley
    U.S. Veteran Dispatch
    December 29, 2006
    “I feel sad having to expose Barack Obama,” says Martin, “but the man is a complete fraud. The truth is going to surprise, and disappoint, and outrage many people who were drawn to him. He has lied to the American people, and he has sought to misrepresent his own heritage.
    “Fact: Obama is a Muslim who has concealed his religion.”

    *True Americans are very giving, of themselves, their resources, finances and their love.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Sending Churchill back was justified. No question. Given the history of Churchill with Obama’s Grandfather being tortured by the British while Churchill was PM.

    Last month the blogs were filled with stories of Wagyu steak and Martinis. Sheesh.

    I’m sure you’re right though. The Browns were probably aghast. They probably couldn’t afford a gadget or whatever. Seriously.

    If they’d have given them something from Tiffany’s, the rightwing blogs would be ragging on about waste.

    It’s fun to watch though.


  10. Claudia says:

    Well, what can any of us expect from people who still think that all the AA’s are supposed to be getting repariations because they were forced to be slaves….. not that they, themselves, were slaves, but that their families use it to bring the point home every time they can’t et something they want..

    No class snobbery is what the Brits got and it will come bak on our White House, maybe not this year or the next, but sometime soon. Sending Churchill’s bust back was very tactless, and the DVD set, well, that just speaks for itself, nothing in, nothing out, as far as brain cells.

    Brown went way over and beyond the call and Obama slighted everything he did. Just plain RUDE and CRUDE of our new messiah.

  11. Rix says:

    “For the first time in my life, I am ashamed of my country.” (c)

  12. Anonymous says:

    It hurts my heart to think that this is what America has lowered itself to. We need to take it back and bring and there isn’t a moment to waste.

  13. Hope for a Change of Direction says:

    What an absolute, classless embarrassment!

  14. Gail B says:

    If Obama keeps this up, he could become a regular target of “Great Moments in Presidential Slip-ups” on Letterman. Do you suppose the Obamas have to pay for their gifts as well as their meals at the Big House?

    Now, that is embarrassing!

  15. Anonymous says:

    So it’s true… WalMart IS behind takeover.

  16. Anonymous says:

    i am glad that it happen thus the world knows what kind of trash we have at the wh

  17. Anonymous says:

    Just wait and see what they plan to give to Castro and Chavez when they visit… And all the folks who will have to move from Florida when they give it to them.

  18. Nellie says:

    Oh my God. I’m firstly embarrassed for that horrible comment from “anonymous” at the very top. That was absolutely nauseating. It’s true that the gifts were not well-thought out and are inexcusably bad, but I think it was simply a deliberate gesture to send Brown a message. Do NOT bring anything else into this beyond a deliberate throughtlessness on the part of the Obamas. Sending back a bust of Churchill is really bad form too.

    Oh, Jeff, I took issue with your comment too. I live in Chicago and am actually from Flint, MI (GASP!) so I should be an unsophisticated wretch then according to Michael Moore and others, just like someone from south side Chicago apparently, right? Nice comment.

    People know what’s suitable and what’s not. It was deliberate.

  19. David P. says:

    The other question is did he give PM Brown a DVD player to go with it?

    We use the NTSC format in the USA, and that is the format of our DVD’s. The U.K uses the PAL format. So unless these “special” DVD’s were made to be multi-region, he could not watch them even if he wanted too.

    Of course if he had thought about this and given him a DVD player, he probably would have given him a 120volt version instead of the 220volt they use.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I love the Southside thug comment. I have always said that Hobama was just another political thug from Chicago. Kind of a birds of a feather thing….

    The gifts were an extreme embarrasment to our country. Comparing Laura Bush to Hobama wife is like comparing, well, I won’t go there.

    GREAT article. Just wish the content were true.

    Thanks Americas Right!

    verification word = “fated”

  21. MUJERLATINA says:

    “SOLIPSITIC”:’sol’ from the Latin root for ‘sun’ — The word really means “the sun revolves around me.” And that my friends IS the perfect definition for both Michelle-O and Bam-Bam!! The are the quinitissential solipisistic people. That is exactly why they do not care about the rest of the country, our future, or for that matter the future of the world — because the sun revolves around them!!!!! As for the gifts, they merely confirm the worst about American pop culture and our secular progressive values: DVDs? Plastic toys? This shows the complete cultural iliteracy of our current generation, personified by the Obamas. Shame on Michelle-O. What’s the old adage? ‘You can take the farmer out of the country, but you’ll never take the country out of the farmer.’ Same for Michelle-O: ‘You can take the girl out of the Ghetto, but you’ll never take the Ghetto out of the girl.’

  22. Ian Thorpe says:

    Don’t worry Jeff, the Daily Mail, along with The Daily Telegraph and even the leftie Guardian are quickly catching onto the idea that in the fantasy world the Obamas inhabit Britain is The Great Satan.

    In Obama’s unique view of history the mighty British Empire took a time out from quashing the Mau Mau uprising among the Kikuyu, Meru and Embu tribes in Keyna to single out for torture and harrassment just one member of the Empire-friendly Luo tribe, Obama’s grandpapa. We know claims of B Obama 1st’s involvenent in the Mau Mau are false. As long ago as the 1950s the Luo, deadly enemies of the Kikuyu, Meru and Embu, were claioming Kenya as their land and promising genicidal wars to remove their rivals.

    Well those nasty Brits would pick on the Obamas, wouldn’t they? The same way we singled out Obama’s Irish great – great – great – great – grand uncle four times removed.

    If Gordon Brown’s popularity was not rock bottom already he would not have done himself any favours with that nauseating display af arse licking. Fortunately few of us expected anything but arrogant condescension from Obama and wife. Why would we expect anything else from the first elected President of The Entire Universe and Everything Else Besides?
    Well He is, isn’t he?

    Enjoy the clip He’s Not The Messiah from Monty Python’s Life Of Brian (nudity featured)

  23. Let us move forward says:

    Sad and graceless. Where was Michelle’s social secretary or chief of staff?

    This lack of care after the Inauguration Bash and all the expensive dinners and clothes.

    If Mr. O does resent the British because of Kenya’s former colonial status and ignores the importance of the US British cooperation, is that divided allegiance? Is it acting globally? Is it immaturity? Certainly it is unwise and not good for the US.

    It will be interesting to see if he is forgiven. I don’t recall a British cheering section during the campaign.

    Mr. O wants to meet the Queen. Why? Likes the idea of a monarchy? Admires the Queen? Or wouldn’t have had the chance without becoming President.

  24. Let us move forward says:

    Are you interested how the MSM works? You might like to read this article.


  25. Anonymous says:

    I have my issues with the British as well, but I certainly respect them. They are good, honest people. Is there any way we can send them an apology of some sort to show we aren’t like that?

    And I simply don’t understand the return of the Churchill bust. Couldn’t it have just been moved to another location in the White House? That was either a deliberate slight or an act of incredible thoughtlessness.


  26. Nellie says:

    JV, I was wondering that too…couldn’t they have just stashed the bust in the White House storage or something? Put it in the basement, linen closet, under the sink? I mean, for ANYONE to return a well-intended gift no matter how piddly is the ultimate rudeness. To return a gift from England of a reminder of a statesman that got England through WWII and fostered greater ties with the US is very, very sad and insulting. And the thing about not wanting to give a costly gift…thoughtfulness does not have to equate to great expense. Seriously…DVDs!!!?? WTF!!??? Funny though, thoughtlessness and quick, unresearched decisions (cabinet members who simply cannot get their taxes right including a TREASURY secretary who messed up TURBO TAX, the extraneous crap in the “stimulus” bill, insulting another country that is America’s most important ally, bad Russian translation on button) seem to be a trend with this administration. For the first time in my life I’m EMBARRASSED to be an American. By the way, I would love to hear Hillary scream at whoever translated the button and made her look stupid *shiver*…”keep smiling Hillary, just keep smiling.”

  27. Anonymous says:

    The Obama’s would promote their own stool specimens. Mercifully, so far we have been spared Michelle (a la Jackie) clapping a pillbox on her large and angry head.

  28. Anonymous says:

    First of all…SHUT UP NELLIE!

    Rick…I was going to refer to them being from Southside Chicago…that’s too funny…IT’S TRUE…Can’t wait to see how this horrible tacky woman behaves in front of the Queen…Oh, wait…she is one isn’t she? We’re all suppose to curtsy to her now, huh? Ha…whatever..get over yourself Michelle…your education does not equate etiquette…and certainly you have NONE! How gracious of you to offer the boys a Wal Mart style plastic toy. Low-class Chicago thug politicians…YOU ARE AN EMBARRASSMENT TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE!

  29. Anonymous says:

    In response to “Nellie”, I’m with you on your repulsion by some of the comments that appear to have Obama’s ethnicity at heart.

    It is what emanates from a person’s mind that defines them, and that is what I vehemetly object to in the case of the Obamas, not where they grew up, their social acumen, or even their lack of sophistication. Those were the primary objections to President Lincoln (in the press, he was often referred to as a “monkey” and a “baboon”) but it is not his lack of sophistication that he is remembered for.

    Now don’t get me wrong; I am not trying to compare Obama with Lincoln. Far from it. None of you out there in Jeff’s blogland are more fearful of the Obama administration’s policies or worked harder to keep him from being elected. Frankly, I think he is guided by an Evil force in opposition to all I believe in, but if we start to bring ethnicity into this argument, we abandon our moral authority.

    All I’m saying is that, if, as Gov. Pawlenty said, “faith in God is central to Conservative values”, then let’s act like we understand that and that, ethnically speaking, “there is no partiality with God”. Humility was His hallmark.

    Old Bob

  30. Nellie says:

    How adult of you anonymous–”shut up?” Are you afraid I’m right? This web site, and what Jeff does, revolves around differences in IDEOLOGY not what a person looks like or where they’re from. You can’t judge a person based on the color of their skin or geographical location. If this is where most of you are coming from…well, I’m ashamed to be part of it.

  31. domesticgoddess says:

    Maybe next visit the Obamamorons can give them a special edition copy of Napoleon Dynamite and a box of Russel Stover’s candy?


    I can’t shake this image of Barry Soetoro using a telepromper in the BEDROOM.


    That photo says it all, just a couple punk kids that have proven, that yes, ANYBODY, can become President (unfortunately).

  34. CLASS DETECTOR says:

    To the waitress who commented above: RIGHT ON! you have nailed them exactly. THANK YOU.

  35. 1776 A BIG FAVOR says:

    The British must be so glad now that we are independent from them…. as Elvis sang so eloquently… “In The Ghetto”

  36. Anonymous says:

    wow. my first time visiting this blog. really depressing to see the racism and hate. thx for ruining a 49 yr old white woman’s Sunday morning.


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