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The Obamas are narcissistic? You don't say!

So, as we all know, Gordon Brown came to visit with Barack Obama. He, of course, brought his wife and two children: two boys named Fraser and John. And it doesn't seem like President Obama is making a great first impression on Prime Minister Brown.

First, Obama cancelled the press conference with Brown... because of snow.

No sooner had the Prime Minister's plane touched down at Andrews Air Force on Monday evening when word was passed to travelling Westminster correspondents that the press conference they'd been told to expect had been called off "because of snow".

Hours earlier, at around 4pm EST on Monday, a British official had told me that there would be a "press conference" after the PM and President Barack Obama had met in the Oval Office and before they had their working lunch in the Old Family Dining Room. Exact timings, however, were vague.

By 8pm, the press conference - if there'd ever been one planned - was officially off. The White House press schedule stated: "There will be a pool spray of the meeting." In layman's language, that means a small collection of reporters and perhaps two or three quick questions. That means something very short and ample opportunity to dodge anything difficult.

... Brogan quotes one Number 10 apparatchik as saying: "We're trying for something a bit more intimate but there won't be flags and podiums. We were going to do one in the Rose Garden but with the weather. They will be together and they will take questions."

Oddly enough, at White House press secretary Robert Gibbs's 2pm briefing, he said that "I believe it's going to be some questions in the Oval". Although he added that "I don't know the answer to all of the logistics", it was pretty clear at that stage - within the White House at least - that there wasn't going to be a press conference.

The notion that there would ever have been a press conference scheduled in the Rose Garden at the start of March is, of course, faintly ridiculous.

Mr Brown might be forgiven for thinking that his friend, rival and predecessor Tony Blair would not have been treated the same way by his bosom buddy President George W. Bush. After all, there are 132 rooms in the White House at least some of which, presumably, are currently free of snow.

On the other hand, President Obama is terribly busy this Tuesday. The White House schedule tells us that he is delivering remarks at the Department of Transportation to deliver remarks about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is also speaking at the Department of Interior to mark its 160th anniversary.

There's a conflab with Pentagon chief Bob Gates. Oh, and Mr Obama will also meet "a delegation from the Boy Scouts of America and receive their 2008 Report to the Nation". in the Oval Office.

Mr Brown might lament that despite the so-called "special relationship" Britain is now getting the same treatment as the President of Uruguay but he need not despair. I'm told there's a chance he might get drinks with Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday evening.

Interesting that Obama cancelled on account of snow. Not too long ago, he was preaching to DC residents that they needed to suck it up and stop complaining about the snow so much. Meanwhile, he was cranking up the thermostat to near greenhouse temperatures. But then, when Prime Minister Gordon Brown comes to town, suddenly the snow is a hindrance.

What happened to that flinty Chicago toughness, President Obama?

Britain is one of our closest allies, and Obama couldn't make it a priority to make sure that press conference happened? If for no other reason, it should have been a priority as a sign of respect. What's truly scary is that this was not an unexpected visit... but the Obama administration couldn't even coordinate this meeting with advanced notice. And as the blogger, Toby Harnden, noted, there were presumably 132 snow-free rooms inside the White House that could have been used.

If he can't even be prepared for an expected visit from one of our closest allies, what will happen if he gets that 3am phone call everyone obsessed about during the campaign?

And don't think it was just the President who showed poor class. The First Lady wasn't a model of graciousness and charm, either. While Sarah Brown came to the White House armed with thoughtful gifts for the Obama children, Michelle Obama couldn't be bothered to do more than send an aide down to the White House gift shop for the Brown boys.

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.

And yes, those Marine One playsets are sold in the White House gift shop. They're a whopping $15. I somehow think that two dresses with matching necklaces along with a handful of books cost more than $30, and I certainly don't think that Sarah Brown got them from the Downing Street gift shop. There was also only one White House photograph of the two of them meeting together, making me wonder if Michelle even bothered to spend any time with her guests beyond this one meeting.

Of course, I get we can somewhat commend Michelle. She didn't cancel the meeting altogether for some bogus reason, and hey, at least she got them something, right? Even if the gifts were little models of thoughtless narcissism, it's better than nothing, I guess.

The entire handling of the Prime Minister's visit shows an unbelievably embarassing amount of narcissism and egotism from the White House, from both the President and the First Lady. Britain, one of our closest allies, was brushed aside as if they were some small, insignificant nation that we didn't really need to pay attention to. The problem is not the gifts on their own -- it's the overall treatment of our closest ally since WWII that's made Brits so furious. Rather than showing graciousness, the Obamas just brushed them aside. It seems to me that they're buying into the hype a little too much. To them, they truly are the Messiah couple. And if they're truly the Messiah couple, then the Browns should feel honored in their presence, rather than treated like an honored guest.

The Prime Minister of Britain and his family deserved better treatment than this. They should have been treated like the honored guests that they were. It just seems to serve as another example that of how clueless and inexperienced the Obamas are... while simultaneously thinking the world of themselves.

Hat Tip: Ace of Spades


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Comments (30)

I'm convinced that Liberali... (Below threshold)
Kat:

I'm convinced that Liberalism is a disease. JFO proves it with his delusional comments.

I hear that the White House... (Below threshold)
epador:

I hear that the White House does have a new playground/swingset. I wonder if the boys were allowed to play on it?

Tacky, tacky, tacky. Shows ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Tacky, tacky, tacky. Shows the level of decency and thoughtfulness of the Obamalama's. Briton is having a field day with this rudeness. Already a reputation. That is change we can believe in. ww

Actually, the way I heard i... (Below threshold)
LiberalNitemare:

Actually, the way I heard it was that Mrs Obama offered the boys toy helicopters, but only if they agreed to help out with the Iranian situation.

Empty suits and no class to... (Below threshold)
mag:

Empty suits and no class to boot.

I knew the White House would be over their heads in many, many ways.

C'mon Cassie, give Michelle... (Below threshold)

C'mon Cassie, give Michelle a break. Her perfectly toned bare arms are such a lovely mocha color. That in itself should cover over a multitude of sins, shouldn't it?

The Obamas are stupid, inco... (Below threshold)

The Obamas are stupid, incompetent, classless amateurs. We've replaced a cowboy with a pothead.
http://www.rightklik.net/

Flip off the UK. Suck up t... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Flip off the UK. Suck up to Russia.

All righty, then. I can see there's a LOT of planning going on in diplomatic circles these days!

It is a shame the way Obama... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

It is a shame the way Obama treated our closest ally. I will give Michelle a pass on the gifts although most of that stuff is pretty scripted and someone should have known better. Britain has been a very good friend for a long time and we have both benefited from it. They deserve better from us.

Leave Michelle alone. It i... (Below threshold)
Judith:

Leave Michelle alone. It is evident by her sleeveless style, that she is going through menopause....now that is torture. The impending book about her husband's "exploits", her first child approaching puberty and her enduring rage at the white establishment, that she must now live amongst, leave her alone, she is suffering.

God help me if I sound like... (Below threshold)
Andrew X:

God help me if I sound like I am defending anything I have seen so far from the One, but just two points worth making:

A vast number of British and European people have a HUGE, ENORMOUS chunk of blame for Obama sitting where he is today. Vast. Huge. Enormous. They themselves may not realize that their own foam-at-the-mouth rabid dog reactions to our 43rd President DID have an impact. Many many Americans just did not want to hear that, and did not have the spine or intellect to stand up to it, so it HAD to be Bush's fault. This thinking was a big big player in November's results. So, such Brit-Euros are now getting just what they asked for, beyond just Britain. And they have much within to blame.

I single out the monstrous and despicable BBC in particular. (Clarification: BBC science / nature / history programming is top notch and much enjoyed. Thank you, Britian.) BBC News is as much of an enemy of liberty and Western Civilization on this planet as Stalin ever was, and it has huge global impact.

Point two is this: NATO is dead, a hollowed out dead husk of itself. A strong alliance, like a stone house, is best. A non-alliance is what it is, like a house of palm fronds, possibly usable in the sunshine, and OK as long as everyone sees it for what it is, and acts accordingly. When the hurricane comes, you konw to get the hell out. The absolute worst of the worst is a "house" made of palm fronds that LOOKS like it is made of stone. When the storm comes, you will count on those stones for your life, and you will die within.

Such is NATO today. And it is time for its members to begin to act accordingly. I have always liked James Bennett's 'Anglosphere' idea, which obviously will not happen as long as OBolshevik is in charge, but the only possible upside of this kind of either incompetent or by-design back of the hand to NATO allies by our current President is to wake them up to A) the ramifications of what so many of them have wanted, a weaker, non-assertive America and B) their own need to become stronger and more internationally assertive, by hook or by crook, because Obama sure as hell ain't gonna gallop to their rescue.... those days are gone (for four years at least). And our days of bailing out socialists overseas are done. The monster has come ashore here, and our battles are in our own streets.

In just over a month, Obama... (Below threshold)
Ken Hahn:

In just over a month, Obama has managed to wreak not only the economy but also foreign policy. He has the honesty and dignity of Bill Clinton and the competence of Jimmy Carter. We needed a miracle in 1980, we'll need a bigger one in 2012.

Rumor has it that the rift ... (Below threshold)
Wordygirl:

Rumor has it that the rift started when Mrs. Brown was not suitably impressed with Mrs. Obama's biceps. //sarcasm off//

And just how is it that eve... (Below threshold)
xiphos:

And just how is it that everyone expected this socialist piece of Chicago garbage to act?

Obama considers Britain an ... (Below threshold)

Obama considers Britain an enemy, and a loathed one at that. Remember, he is Kenyan-American and Kenya has a long history of colonialism with the Brits. Obama's family despises the British and he has marinated in hatred toward "whitey" his entire adulthood.

This insult to Britain was not casual, it was not because the Obamas are self involved (though they are.) It was a poke in the eye to a hated enemy.

Welcome to Obama's America. I'm sorry to be here.

Obama embarrassed the natio... (Below threshold)

Obama embarrassed the nation with how he treated our most stanch ally. this was his narcissism and poor diplomacy skills on display for the whole world to see. How about this for the change we voted for!

http://franklinslocke.blogspot.com/

For the first time, I'm not... (Below threshold)
apb:

For the first time, I'm not proud of my country!

Considering the classy gift... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Considering the classy gifts the Obama's got, I'm surprised at the cheapness of their gifts to the Browns.

But Democrats are loath to spend their own money on gifts. YOUR MONEY, now that's a 'different story'. Nuance.

Were I Brown, next time I drop by, IF I drop by, the girls get a set of jacks to play with and The One gets the most recent copy of Penthouse, pulled off the airport news rack.

Quit sucking up to Old Euro... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Quit sucking up to Old Europe, wingnuts. They haven't got any oil and they're already set to cut and run. [lolz]

Hyper understands that kind... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Hyper understands that kind of rudeness. Simpatico don't you know. ww

The worst family needs to j... (Below threshold)
914:

The worst family needs to just go away.

Coptergate! Begin the inves... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Coptergate! Begin the investigations!

so screechy. ODS at it's f... (Below threshold)
Ryan:

so screechy. ODS at it's finest. Is this really how us liberals sounded for the last 8 years? If so I'm ashamed.

Oh, remember this? "You may not agree with him, but you should respect the office of the president"

Where exactly does "Chicago trash" "worst family" "stupid amatuers" all fit in with that sentiment?

You guys are laughable. HAHAHA

Is this really how... (Below threshold)
Is this really how us liberals sounded for the last 8 years?

Actually, this is pretty mild compared to the way the left howled and squealed for 8 years.

The nutcons don't approve o... (Below threshold)
Ryan:

The nutcons don't approve of toy helicopter gifts. Yawn. Sorry, I guess the adults are too busy fixing the shit sandwich Dubya handed them to go pick out something you morons would approve of. They should have called Sarah Palin. We all know how much she loves to shop.

Story had it that douchebag... (Below threshold)
Son of a Pig and a Monkey:

Story had it that douchebag Obama gave the Brit PM a collection of 25 DVD's. No word if it included "Snakes on a Plane". What a classy douchebag.

Well, I don't much have a l... (Below threshold)
epador:

Well, I don't much have a liking for Mr. Brown, but I'd of let my kids pick some toys they never use and wrapped them. I guess that woulda meant a coupla Bratz dolls for the boys, eh? Canceling the Press Conference may have avoided some embarrassment, but I can't wait to see his treatment the next visit to the UK. That will have to be an embarrassment worth avoiding.

ryan - "The nutcons don... (Below threshold)
marc:

ryan - "The nutcons don't approve of toy helicopter gifts."

Not at all, not when given in the proper context and setting.

Like to three year-olds such as yourself.

Does anyone else think that... (Below threshold)
Kelsey:

Does anyone else think that American media should focus more on newsworthy than novelty? I was disappointed to see that no media station is talking about the Prime Minister's "Global New Deal". We are doing him more of an injustice by not taking seriously or discussing his propositions. Clearly, President Obama's Public Affairs professionals dropped the ball on positive PR. I found an objective video news site that discusses the story from global perspectives. It's interesting to hear international opinions on the visit.

http://www.newsy.com/videos/no_party_for_uk/

I'm surprised Obama didn't ... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

I'm surprised Obama didn't hand Brown the Churchill bust to carry back to the UK himself.




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