Video: CNN mildly scolds Obama for bow, media for ignoring it

posted at 11:38 am on April 10, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The White House miscalculated on its “no-bow” response. CNN spends a couple of minutes calling them on it — and giving profuse credit to Hot Air while doing so. Take a close look at the video shots in this Jeanne Moos segment, which aired this morning, and you’ll recognize my handiwork, especially in the part where CNN compares the bow to Saudi King Abdullah and the correct protocol of a head nod to the shorter Queen Elizabeth (hat tip: HA reader Geoff A):

Here are the YouTube videos displayed in part during the segment:

Moos plays it down the middle in the inevitable man-on-the-street interviews, but winds up mildly chiding both the White House and the media for ignoring this. She plays a portion of Jay Leno’s focus on George Bush’s handholding with Abdullah, which got reams of press when it happened, strongly suggesting the double standard of the media in ignoring the bow altogether, at least until now. Moos also shows that the bow preceded the two-handed handshake, and concludes that the White House is not being terribly honest.

Kudos to CNN for covering the story at all — and kudos for giving us credit for the source material. They even covered the Obamateurism of the Day feature, and I’ll bet Chris Muir gets a kick out of that.

Instead of just acknowledging an error, Robert Gibbs lied about it, and all but dared the media to report it. CNN isn’t the only media outlet taking the challenge, either. The Chicago Sun-Times scolds Obama for his display, now that the White House tried to spin it:

Did he or didn’t he? Did President Obama bow to Saudi King Abdullah at the G-20 meeting in London? That question is creating a bit of a dust-up in the blogosphere. The brouhaha reminds me of the tsk-tsking a few years back when President George W. Bush was photographed holding hands with then-Crown Prince Abdullah. …

That said, the president of the United States does not bow to kings. He is not only the chief of government, he’s our head of state — the equal of any monarch. The White House says Obama didn’t bow, that he “grasped (Abdullah’s) hand with two hands and he’s taller than King Abdullah.”

Sorry, but a videotape on YouTube doesn’t quite back that up. Obama clearly bends his body toward the Arabian monarch, and Obama doesn’t grasp both the king’s hands until he’s standing straight up. As for the he’s-taller argument, the 6-foot-1-inch Obama towers over a lot of people, so we’d have seen him bowing during handshakes many times if that were the explanation. Furthermore, the king had his hand extended, so Obama didn’t have to reach down an inordinate amount to grab it.

Heads of state do not bow to other heads of state. Abdullah didn’t reciprocate with a bow to Obama, for instance, and none of the other heads of state in the original video did so much as a shoulder incline. It’s the act of a rank amateur, a man unprepared to represent a nation as head of state. Thankfully, a few people have begun to notice it.

Update: Deceiver experiences Wonkette’s “humor”, which relies heavily on fellatio.

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We fought a #$%$ WAR against England so that NO MAN need bow before a monarch.

Obama, will you crack open a freakn American history book?

kurtzz3 on April 10, 2009 at 3:39 PM

And this is exactly why journalism is dead in this country.

They are too friggin stupid to figure out whether that was a bow or not.

*shaking head in disgust*

sarainitaly on April 10, 2009 at 3:44 PM

sarainitaly on April 10, 2009 at 3:44 PM

Oh, they know it was a bow. They’re just protecting the Child President from looking like the lickspittle a**wipe that he apparently is.

kurtzz3 on April 10, 2009 at 3:39 PM

It wouldn’t p**s me off so much if he had bowed to the English monarch; at least they are an ally. But to bow to that Saudi sack of c*ap…that turns my stomach.

austinnelly on April 10, 2009 at 3:55 PM

I’m sorry, but every time I see that photo of him bending over I’m struck by how shiny his suit is and how big his arse looks. A singularly awkward and unattractive pose–another good reason not to bow at the waist…to anyone. Perhaps a curtsy or genuflection would have been more graceful.

Dee2008 on April 10, 2009 at 4:01 PM

Oops, forgot the sarc tag on that last.

Dee2008 on April 10, 2009 at 4:06 PM

A Clever writer, on one of the Weekend comedy shows would get their Obama look-alike to re-enact this, by having him bow to the paper-mache Burger King image from their ads.

Wander on April 10, 2009 at 4:14 PM

Robert Gibbs is the most pathetic excuse for a press secretary I have ever seen. I watch his briefings here in Thailand over the American Embassy network by satellite dish. He mumbles, mumbles, mumbles so you need to crank up the volume just to make out anything – then he cracks a joke for the kids and emits that forced laugh of his straight into his mike. I want to strangle him!

Obama’s childhood years in Indonesia are the key to understanding this bowing affair I think (I’ve known Indonesia well for 20 years), but I couldn’t resist coming up with some alternate excuses / reasons for the subservient act:


Congratulations to Ed and HotAir for the well-deserved publicity!

Agam on April 10, 2009 at 4:24 PM

There are many sources for Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran stating:

… there are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam.

Loxodonta on April 10, 2009 at 2:42 PM

Yep. Even further, there are no days of rest in islam, which tells you a whole lot about that culture.

progressoverpeace on April 10, 2009 at 4:27 PM

It is hard to tell whether it is the Dems or the Repubs that are the most obsequious before Saudi Arabia.

Depends how big you want your library I guess.

[email protected] on April 10, 2009 at 4:48 PM

He’s just more educated about their culture and more global in his thinking.

Uggggh! (What would Alexander’s men have said?)

Tzetzes on April 10, 2009 at 5:22 PM

The White House lied and reality cried.

profitsbeard on April 10, 2009 at 8:00 PM

Hey, Ed, did you notice Jeannie called Elizabeth II “The Queen of England”?

Funny how many people do that.

The Monster on April 10, 2009 at 8:05 PM

Anyone been watching late night TV? Has Obama gotten the ribbing Bush did? (And btw, Bush didn’t lie about it)

RightWinged on April 10, 2009 at 8:52 PM

Perhaps Obama is a subject of King Abdullah, and therefore a bow is appropriate.

SheofTwoMinds on April 10, 2009 at 10:10 PM

He just thought he was the King Of Kenya, Obama’s homeland…Show me the birth certificate…

I thought it was a curtsey, more appropriate for Obama.

dthorny on April 11, 2009 at 2:40 AM

Time Magazine: Obama bow : “gracious” and “fitting”

Yet, any American president should display a form of respect to any other head of state that he (or in the future, perhaps she) agrees to meet. Rather than kowtowing to Saudi custom, or showing fealty to a Muslim king, Obama’s gesture in London seemed to be simply his gracious, spontaneous way of greeting Abdullah. That’s fitting for a variety of reasons, beyond any rules of diplomatic protocol.

No mention of the White house lie that that the bow didn’t happen.

Loxodonta on April 11, 2009 at 9:35 AM

obama was only doing what muslims do when the meet a another muslim

rone5847 on April 11, 2009 at 11:54 AM

When the MSM swears that your eyes are lying and they’re not, you know journalism is dead. If the left will lie over something so obvious, they are admitting the comprehension of the truth is beyond their mental capacity.

volsense on April 11, 2009 at 4:39 PM