White House: Bow? What bow?

posted at 4:40 pm on April 8, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

I really wasn’t going to write about this again, mostly because I was convinced that the national media had let Barack Obama off the hook completely for his tradition- and protocol-breaking bow to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.  However, Ben Smith reports that the White House has now been asked about it, thanks to a Washington Times editorial scolding Obama for the move — and that they’re denying it ever happened:

The White House is denying that the president bowed to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at a G-20 meeting in London, a scene that drew criticism on the right and praise from some Arab outlets.

“It wasn’t a bow. He grasped his hand with two hands, and he’s taller than King Abdullah,” said an Obama aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The Washington Times called it the alleged bow a  “shocking display of fealty to a foreign potentate,” and said it violated centuries of American tradition of not deferring to royalty.  The Weekly Standard, meanwhile, noted, that American protocol apparently rules out bowing, or at least it reportedly did on the occasion of a Clinton “near bow” to the Emperor of Japan.

Interestingly, a columnist in the Saudi-backed Arabic paper Asharq Alawsat also took the gesture as a bow, and appreciated the move.

No bow?  You tell me.  Obama’s a lot taller than Queen Elizabeth, too, so compare the two greetings for yourself:

Originally, the excuse that had gotten floated around the media was that Obama was picking something off the floor. This video pretty much destroys that excuse:

Note also that this shows clearly that Obama did not “grasp [Abdullah's] hand with both hands”; Obama’s left hand is in plain view, on his left leg, as he executes the deep-waisted bow.

Will the media finally report this, as Ben Smith did, now that the White House is trying to deny the obvious and rewrite history? Or will they continue to sit silently while Obama tinkles on their heads and calls it rain? (also thanks to HA reader Geoff A)


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He was being friendly like w.

getalife on April 8, 2009 at 11:09 PM

You’re a moron. Shaking hands is a friendly gesture, bowing is a subservient gesture.

leetpriest on April 9, 2009 at 9:36 AM

On the first video, I must cite a correction:

Australia is our closest Ally, with England.. er… the United Kingdom coming in a close second. Just wanted to acknowledge our true allies (in both cases, by the way. I’m not dismissing the UK as a true ally).

Wino on April 9, 2009 at 10:00 AM

Obama: What is thy Bidding, my Master?

GunRunner on April 8, 2009 at 11:31 PM

I think I might take Vader over P.BO.
At least Vader knew how to crush an enemy.

Count to 10 on April 9, 2009 at 10:03 AM

OMG! This is worse than Cigarman denying he had sex with that woman, … Leave it to a democrat to be full of demoCRAP.

How long before we see this head line?

White House: Blow? What blow?

It doesn’t matter if they didn’t vote at all. The results are the same. This is what Americans voted for.

DannoJyd on April 9, 2009 at 10:06 AM

Reminds me of the Eagle’s song: You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes, and your smile has been disguised. I thought by now you’d realize that, Barry, you can’t hide your lyin’ eyes.

Serial liars don’t know when to quit, nor that bold-faced lies are obvious to everyone else.

Tennman on April 9, 2009 at 10:12 AM

This offers a basic test of which media is honest and which is not. There is no interest to be served by hiding this story, or by promoting the flagrant lie being told by Obama’s spokesmen, other than to serve Obama.

Every media outlet that follows along with the patented Democrat tactic on this story of ignore, then obfuscate, then finally lie, is declaring who it serves, and it is not the public interest as they so fatuously like to claim. The Democratic Party, and its adoption of the Chicago politics of its latest strongman, has completed the prostitution of the American media.

MSM delenda est.

drunyan8315 on April 9, 2009 at 10:49 AM

He was merely offering the man a shoe shine.

argos on April 9, 2009 at 10:51 AM

argos on April 9, 2009 at 10:51 AM

LOL!

Drum on April 9, 2009 at 10:56 AM

I don’t know if anyone else has brought this up, but in Muslim countries, the left hand is considered unclean. It’s the hand you’re supposed to wipe your behind with.

For Obama to give the king a two handed hand shake, would have meant he touched the king with his left hand, which would have been highly offensive to the king.

MarkTheGreat on April 9, 2009 at 7:29 AM

Okay, I have heard about this (though what I heard was pretty repulsive, so I don’t know if it was exaggerated or not). That makes some sense, actually.

The thing I noticed about this was that Obama seemed so eager. His body language looked like he couldn’t wait to submit himself to this man. It almost looked instinctive, to me.

capitalist piglet on April 9, 2009 at 10:58 AM

You missed a spot, Barry.

argos on April 9, 2009 at 11:07 AM

This offers a basic test of which media is honest and which is not. There is no interest to be served by hiding this story, or by promoting the flagrant lie being told by Obama’s spokesmen, other than to serve Obama.

Every media outlet that follows along with the patented Democrat tactic on this story of ignore, then obfuscate, then finally lie, is declaring who it serves, and it is not the public interest as they so fatuously like to claim. The Democratic Party, and its adoption of the Chicago politics of its latest strongman, has completed the prostitution of the American media.

MSM delenda est.

drunyan8315 on April 9, 2009 at 10:49 AM

I wouldn’t doubt there’s a good deal of willful obfuscation and covering of their President’s behind from the media, but there’s also a good deal of simple incomprehension, especially among the lower-level reporters filing dispatches from the Middle East. This story simply does not fit any of the media action lines – they have no idea how to report it. They certainly aren’t going to wonder if maybe the deep bow came from Obama being a closeted Muslim, offering servile respect to the royal family that funds Wahabbism around the world. They’re equally unlikely to suggest this incident represents some kind of character defect or weak will on Obama’s part. And it couldn’t possibly be due to simple naivete or incompetence – there is no media action line based on the idea that Obama is completely unqualified for his office, and existing action lines stipulate he is one of the smartest men to ever sit in the Oval Office.

Therefore, this weird bowing gaffe could not possibly have happened, so it didn’t. They would have treated the Joe the Plumber kerfuffle the same way, except wall-to-wall Internet outrage in the middle of high political season forced them to cover it, and they were able to establish action lines that merged with their adoration of Obama for that story: JTP was a crook, a tax cheat, a hypocrite, a Republican operative, or too stupid to be taken seriously. In this case, it’s a relatively small mistake and it happened overseas, so it won’t be reported upon. When it comes to political news, and especially political news about Barack Obama, the story is written first – the reporters are just there to record the events that will fit properly below the headline.

Doctor Zero on April 9, 2009 at 11:23 AM

OBAMA WANTED TO KNOW IF THERE WAS A CAMEL UNDER THE KING’S ROBE OR IF HE WAS JUST HAPPY TO MEET HIM.

JOHNNYB on April 9, 2009 at 11:27 AM

When Clinton sent his minons out to lie for him, they had plausable deniability. There wasn’t a recording of a Lewinsky moment.

When Obama sends out his minions they are willing to flat out lie. Obama is the most dangerous President we have yet had. He has convinced some very important and powerful people to completely deny reality in the face of absolute proof to the contrary.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, can be believed that comes from the Whitehouse again. We now know for a certainty that the President of the Untied States and his entire staff are willing to flat out lie.

petunia on April 9, 2009 at 11:37 AM

Would be ok if he had turned his back to him before bowing. American strong statement of “kiss it”.

hillbilly on April 9, 2009 at 11:40 AM

I wish Obama would issue some kind of statement saying due to his inexperience he bowed when he shouldn’t have but that was a personal failing not a symbol of US subservience to Saudi Arabia. Which of course it isn’t, but the symbolism is so powerful it is gut wrenching!

petunia on April 9, 2009 at 11:41 AM

The White House bow tied itself into a knot with nots.

moxie_neanderthal on April 9, 2009 at 11:44 AM

This was a BOW, no matter how the White House trys to claim it wasn’t.

He didn’t honor the Queen of England who has served honorably for 50 years, but he did honor the leader of a country who regularly BEATS THEIR women and keeps them subservient to men.

Wonderful

originalpechanga on April 9, 2009 at 11:47 AM

This is just another example of Obama being all things to all people….which incidentally is what the anti-christ will represent.

I doubt Obama is a closet muslim but he has one thing in common with the House of Saud and Sharia types. they hate Christianity.

Goodeye_Closed on April 9, 2009 at 11:52 AM

How stupid does the WH think we are. It is obviously a bow, he wasnt grasping the King with both hands and he wasnt picking up a contact off the floor.

The WH is insulting our intelligence.

becki51758 on April 9, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Okay, I have heard about this (though what I heard was pretty repulsive, so I don’t know if it was exaggerated or not). That makes some sense, actually.

When I said wipe your behind with, you have to remember, these guys didn’t have toilet paper. Heck, for the most part, they didn’t even have rocks. (My wife could tell you some interesting stories about her days on her grandparents ranch in southern Chihuaua.

MarkTheGreat on April 9, 2009 at 12:00 PM

It depends on your what your definition of the word “bow” is.

Otis B on April 9, 2009 at 12:06 PM

The WH is insulting our intelligence.

becki51758

He’s entitled. He won. As a group we are stupid because we elected him.

SKYFOX on April 9, 2009 at 12:11 PM

This was a BOW, no matter how the White House trys to claim it wasn’t.

He didn’t honor the Queen of England who has served honorably for 50 years, but he did honor the leader of a country who regularly BEATS THEIR women and keeps them subservient to men.

Wonderful

originalpechanga on April 9, 2009 at 11:47 AM

The question of why Obama gave the bow is much more interesting than why the media isn’t reporting it. It’s a puzzling mistake, even if you’re willing to write it off as a rookie mistake or a bungle in the protocol office, for the reason you mentioned: why a subservient bow to the king of Saudi Arabia, but a noticeably dismissive attitude to the Queen of England?

It could have been a clumsy attempt to curry favor with a foreign leader Obama needs to work on good relations with – he’s not anticipating any tense, high-stakes negotiations with England. I suspect it was partly due to the star-struck reverence liberals always extend to dictators and absolute monarchs. Meeting a maximum dictator always makes them swoon: look at Carter slobbering over Idi Amin, the endless parade of Hollywood liberals and Democrats making pilgrimages to meet Castro, the Clintons’ strange fascination with Kim Jong Il, or the nauseauting and seditious way congressional Democrats worshipped Daniel Ortega in the 80s. Nothing takes their breath away faster than meeting a totalitarian ruler.

Doctor Zero on April 9, 2009 at 12:18 PM

This is just another example of Obama being all things to all people….which incidentally is what the anti-christ will represent.Goodeye_Closed on April 9, 2009 at 11:52 AM

Huh. Got a chapter and verse for that?

Akzed on April 9, 2009 at 12:19 PM

Did Obama really bow?

Here is a YouTube video that clearly shows what a bow looks like (0:08 to 2:25).

Compare.

It could be a simple case of “bumpkinishness”, due to lack of executive experience, but for the conspiracy minded:

Obama got a letter of recommendation to Harvard from Percy Sutton at the request of Dr. Khalid Abdullah Tariq al-Mansour (formerly Donald Warden)

The Saudi link: al-Mansour advises Prince Alwaleed bin Talal in his U.S. investments.

Arbalest on April 9, 2009 at 12:20 PM

Doctor Zero on April 9, 2009 at 12:18 PM

Bingo. Not to mention the Congressional Black Caucus Morons slobbering all over Castro.

Obooba may not have had a thought about how to grovel before The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques until the moment he saw him, got a lump in his pants as it were, and suddenly thought it was a great idea to bow before The Man.

If so, we can count on his instincts always to mislead him and, therefore, us.

Akzed on April 9, 2009 at 12:23 PM

When I said wipe your behind with, you have to remember, these guys didn’t have toilet paper.
MarkTheGreat on April 9, 2009 at 12:00 PM

So what I heard wasn’t exaggerated. In fact, I once heard about some corporate offices somewhere that were being designed with restrooms to accomodate the cultural difference you’re referring to.

Interesting that Obama would withdraw his left hand like that. Interesting, and gross.

capitalist piglet on April 9, 2009 at 12:30 PM

Is anyone else fuming mad because of this:

http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSWBT01101720090409

Obama won’t comment? Why? because he doesn’t know what to say without scripting it. Since he can’t speak from the heart on such an issue, he’d rather remain silent until he polls the correct response and issues a written statement, or scripted statement later.

What an A$$H0LE our President is.

James on April 9, 2009 at 12:32 PM

the white house will now tell us that there really is an easter bunny

gatorboy on April 9, 2009 at 12:34 PM

James on April 9, 2009 at 12:32 PM

Are you listening to Rush? Did you hear the clip of Hillary Clinton guffawing while answering a question about it?

Is ANYONE in this administration ready for prime time?

capitalist piglet on April 9, 2009 at 12:39 PM

Are you listening to Rush? Did you hear the clip of Hillary Clinton guffawing while answering a question about it?

capitalist piglet on April 9, 2009 at 12:39 PM

“Madame Secretary, an American sea captain is floundering with his barbarian captives in a boat with no fuel on the high seas. Do you have a comment?”

“Haw haw haw haw haw haw haw haw haw, haw,” -Hellary.

Akzed on April 9, 2009 at 12:44 PM

King Abdullah is the keeper of Muslims two holiest places. A true believer would be awed by that, No?
kayo on April 9, 2009 at 9:35 AM

One just happened to be under his robes!!!

jdkchem on April 9, 2009 at 12:49 PM

Here they are . . . the top ten reasons why an Obama aide spoke only on condition of anonymity, when laughingly claiming that:

“It wasn’t a bow. He grasped his hand with two hands, and he’s taller than King Abdullah.”

10. King Abdullah gets upset when anyone points out that he is height-challenged, and the anonymous Obama aide knew he personally would lose potential favor with the little king if Abdullah knew who had said it.

9. Barry wanted to hold both of the little king’s hands because they are both avid “hand slap” game aficionados, and the anonymous aide did not want any follow up questions on that.

8. It was the same aide who drew the “short straw” and had to go out and explain why Tim Geithner is definitely NOT a tax cheat.

7. Hillary whispered to Barry that since he had already bowed “a little” to Queen Elizabeth — which he did — it would be seen as a high insult not to really bow deeply to a Muslim king, especially one who has his hand on the oil spigot.

6. The aide didn’t want to admit that Barry was only checking for protocol instructions from his new shoe-mounted teleprompter.

5. The aide has a strict quota limit on making “for attribution” comments, which he had unfortunately exceeded this month.

4. Somebody had to put the cover story out there, so that MSM reporters would no longer feel any need whatsoever to even consider writing about it.

3. People might not understand if he had explained that “dipping toward the king” is really seen as a sign of strength in neo-diplomatic circles.

2. Barry really wanted the king share an Elmo “hokey pokey” dance with him, with both of them spinning around together at the end, singing, “And that’s what it’s all about!”

And the number one reason the Obama aide spoke about Barry’s bow to the king only on condition of anonymity:

1. The aide did not want to explain that Barry had lost a “Truth or Dare” bet to Michelle when she said, “If I touch the Queen on her backside, you have to bow deeply to Abdullah, okay?” Barry never thought she’d really do it!

Trochilus on April 9, 2009 at 1:26 PM

“Ya gonna believe me or your lying eyes.”
B.O.

Bevan on April 9, 2009 at 1:35 PM

Trochilus on April 9, 2009 at 1:26 PM

At least as good as any I’ve seen on Letterman.

petunia on April 9, 2009 at 1:40 PM

as a sign of respect…

Kinda says it all don’t it.

Romeo13 on April 8, 2009 at 5:01 PM

I’m thinking it’s bcs he’s the Commander In Chief & they are his subordinates. Officers salute each other.
Commanding officers are supposed to salute back, hence the POTUS should logically do the same.
But since Obama cares nothing for protocol, common sense, actual facts, history, the economy, etc, we will hear chirping crickets from the WH on matters like this.
Or at the very least some cockmaimy lie.

Badger40 on April 9, 2009 at 2:25 PM

The photo really needs a caption contest!

Are those Birkenstocks?

jdkchem on April 9, 2009 at 2:40 PM

Is anyone else fuming mad because of this:

http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSWBT01101720090409

Obama won’t comment? Why? because he doesn’t know what to say without scripting it. Since he can’t speak from the heart on such an issue, he’d rather remain silent until he polls the correct response and issues a written statement, or scripted statement later.

What an A$$H0LE our President is.

James on April 9, 2009 at 12:32 PM

Obama’s being cautious now, afraid to goof, knowing full well that Ed is Watching.

Yet his caution is a goof in itself.

To paraphrase Neil Peart, if you choose not to make a comment, you still have made a comment.

misslizzi on April 9, 2009 at 2:44 PM

Just like there’s a statute of limitations on every thing he says (about three days), there is also a statute of limitations on every thing he does. So even if he did bow last week, he didn’t because the statute of limitations has run out.

Christian Conservative on April 9, 2009 at 3:05 PM

Dude. He bowed. What’s the point in lying?

So what if people criticize him? That’s their right. He would have been better off not saying anything. At best, this makes him look like a petty person who can’t take criticism.

bluelightbrigade on April 9, 2009 at 3:07 PM

Zero didn’t bow the cameraman tripped.

/sarcasm

Meanwhile, Couric gets the Cronkite award for whoring for Zero’s media campaign against Palin.

viking01 on April 9, 2009 at 3:09 PM

Trochilus on April 9, 2009 at 1:26 PM

At least as good as any I’ve seen on Letterman.

petunia on April 9, 2009 at 1:40 PM

Gee, I’m not sure . . . was that a compliment? Heh!

David Letterman unfortunately stepped down into the nether regions some time ago by wearing his lefty politics on his sleeve, and he has failed to re-emerge.

As for President Obama, one suspects this latest episode will do little to help “combat” the persistent belief of many Americans, especially among white evangelical Protestants, that he is a Muslim.

Who knows? Depending on how widely the videos are circulated, the episode could serve to actually increase the suspicion among certain demographic groups — such as College grads and Democrats — that have heretofor been least likely to believe that he is a Muslim.

You really have to wonder what he was attempting to accomplish with that curious gesture!

Trochilus on April 9, 2009 at 3:14 PM

Bow, scrape, scrape, bow, kiss, kiss…

…just admit it already, ya big dope!

ladyingray on April 9, 2009 at 3:27 PM

I don’t care all that much that Obama slipped up and gave the Saudi goat-herder a little bow. He’s such a dolt that he probably thought it was ok.

But I find it extremely significant that the WH is willing to blatantly lie when there is obvious video that proves he did bow.

They are so contemptuous of their own base that they feel perfectly free to tell the most outrageous and easily disprovable lie imaginable. And I say their base, because nobody but their loons would believe it for a second

notagool on April 9, 2009 at 3:28 PM

He didn’t bow to King Abdullah–the Teleprompter was on the floor between them, written in a small font, and Barry O needed to look closer. /sarc

You wanna see a REAL bow–wait till the Saudis stop exporting crude…spit&polish the King’s shoes!

Steve Z on April 9, 2009 at 3:31 PM

I didn’t see it, but heard that Bill O’Reilly claims it wasn’t a bow.

Another headfirst dive to the left for BOR? Must be lookin’ for a bailout!

Sweet_Thang on April 9, 2009 at 4:14 PM

dumb. obviously a bow

The Wall on April 9, 2009 at 4:14 PM

Of course, they mean he didn’t give him a bow.

This bow:

noun
A knot usually having two loops and two ends; a bowknot.

Brat on April 9, 2009 at 5:20 PM

King Abdullah: Hey Barack your shoe laces are untied!

Barack Obama: What the…?

King Abdullah: Psych!!

MarkT on April 9, 2009 at 5:25 PM

A friend told me proudly she had voted for him because he had a good education, good diction, all of the young people seemed to like him and he could finally help the disenfranchised. Unbelievable!

Remind me again – How much longer do we have to put up with this buffoon?

torrejranne on April 9, 2009 at 6:26 PM

He wasn’t bowing…

…he bent down to get a closer look at Abdullah’s shoes.

BillaryMcBush on April 8, 2009 at 7:30 PM

Ed and AP,

Check the link for “BillaryMcBush.” I’m pretty sure it violates HA’s Terms of Use. Actually, quite certain. Disgusting.

conservative pilgrim on April 9, 2009 at 7:32 PM

Duffus in Chief. I live for the day the “MSM” flips and begins turning the screws on him.

It may never happen but I patiently await the day.

FireBlogger on April 9, 2009 at 8:11 PM

Folks, methinks we got it all wrong.

When Marrocc Nobowa speaks, all lies magically become truth.

Something like that.

As the late Tug McGraw once said (but not about Nobowa):

“Ya gotta believe!”

Sweet_Thang on April 9, 2009 at 8:35 PM

psst…Timmy, you still down there….

t on April 9, 2009 at 10:06 PM

I’d like to give him a good swift kick in the a**!! This POTUS is a disgrace to us all!!

corvettelady on April 9, 2009 at 10:37 PM

Haji Bama!

kayo on April 9, 2009 at 11:36 PM

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

aquaviva on April 10, 2009 at 1:01 AM

King Abdullah’s own take on the issue.

“BARBARA WALTERS: I understand that now that you are king, you prohibited your subjects from kissing your hand. Were you embarrassed to have your hand kissed?

KING ABDULLAH: I have tremendous distaste for such matters because I believe that one only bows before one’s God, not before another human being.”

the_nile on April 10, 2009 at 7:32 AM

The American Thinker has a ‘must see’cartoon:
Obama meets with Ahmadinejad:
http://www.americanthinker.com/cartoons/
.

philly_nj on April 10, 2009 at 7:34 AM

I just watched the CNN fluff job on this. Amazing that one interviewed young lady passed it off as “respect for other cultures.”

I’m not one for letter writing campaigns, but if we’re going to get the White House off of the denial, I recommend that everyone possible email The One asking him to directly address why he bowed to the Saudi King. I’ve already done so, and I think volume may prompt response.

JayVee on April 10, 2009 at 10:45 AM

A better headline would have been: White House: Bow? Whatchyou talkin’ about, Willis?

darwin-t on April 10, 2009 at 1:16 PM

I’m not one for letter writing campaigns, but if we’re going to get the White House off of the denial, I recommend that everyone possible email The One asking him to directly address why he bowed to the Saudi King. I’ve already done so, and I think volume may prompt response.

JayVee on April 10, 2009 at 10:45 AM

While we’re at it, perhaps we should send him some Dominoes pizza coupons.

Y-not on April 10, 2009 at 5:15 PM

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