Caption contest: Presidential PDAs

posted at 12:46 pm on November 21, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Via Andrew Malcolm, we have a pre-holiday bit of frivolity for Hot Air readers, and perhaps an example of the media tilt I mentioned in an earlier post.  When George W. Bush gave Angela Merkel an unannounced (and unwanted) neck massage, the media turned it into a narrative of his diplomatic ineptitude.  We haven’t heard much about this intrusion on Aung Sang Suu Kyi’s personal space by Barack Obama — whose upbringing in Asia, Andrew notes, should have better prepared him to be more sensitive to the gauche act he committed:

For someone alleged to have grown up in Asia, Barack Obama is repeatedly clueless about customs there.

It’s one thing if you’re a tourist. But as the president of the United States? More problematic. …

Eager to take advantage of such a photo opportunity before the world media, Obama leaned in for a little kiss, as a Chicago pol might at a South Side rally where women would squeal for a presidential peck. Obama is a big political kisser. He kisses females everywhere. Introduce him at a rally, you get a kiss. Hug too, probably. He knows the ladies love it.

But Asia ain’t Hyde Park. Public kissing, even between husband and wife, is rarely seen. Between a man and woman not married it’s downright outrageous, even scandalous. So Obama’s presumably affectionate but impolite, totally out of place smooch created an international moment more awkward than a first date.

Aung San Suu Kyi appeared to instinctively pull back from the male suddenly entering her personal space. But Obama’s arm was wrapping around her.

Turning her face away, she eventually consented stiffly to the foreigner placing his lips on her cheek to avoid a scene. She did not reciprocate, even with an air kiss. Or a gracious smile.

It’s even more awkward when the kisser repeatedly mispronounces the name of the kissee, and bungles the name of the country’s ruler, as the AP reported (via Keith Koffler):

As Obama stood next to the world’s most recognized democracy icon, he mispronounced her name repeatedly.

Ever gracious, Suu Kyi did not correct her American guest for calling her Aung YAN Suu Kyi multiple times during his statement to reporters after their meeting.

Proper pronunciation for the Nobel laureate’s name is Ahng Sahn Soo Chee.

The meeting came after Obama met with Myanmar’s reformist new President Thein Sein – a name he also botched.

As the two addressed the media, Obama called his counterpart “President Sein,” an awkward, slightly affectionate reference that would make most Burmese cringe.

Note to presidential advisers: For future rounds of diplomacy, the president of Myanmar is President Thein Sein – on first and second reference.

These are the type of points about which the White House protocol office, or the State Department, usually briefs a President before making public appearances, especially away from home.  During the Bush years, these kind of fumbles became narratives about the cowboy mentality and parochialism of the Texas-raised President.  Today?  This hardly gets a mention, except for USA Today’s suggestion that none of this is important:

Obama’s kiss of the Burmese leader during Monday’s historic visit at her home in Yangon “has surprisingly elicited little or no comment in the global press thus far — quite unusual since public displays of affection represent a grave breach of custom in virtually all Asian countries,” says the International Business Times.

Public kissing “is not at all the custom (in Burma, also known as Myanmar) as it is here in Hawaii, and (Suu Kyi’s) backing away is almost instinctive for most Burmese women, even those brought up in or have lived a long time in the West,” Michael Aung-Thwin, professor of Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii, told the publication. …

“Personal space is completely different depending on the culture. It’s very different across cultures, so you have to be respectful and knowledgeable,” body language expert Lillian Glass told ABCNews.com.

But Hawaii’s Aung-Thwin added that Obama’s apparent gaffe likely won’t cause offense among the Burmese public: “They realize that’s the custom (in the USA),” he said. “They’ll allow such concessions to any foreigner who simply doesn’t understand (local customs).”

My, how understanding the world has become — not to mention the media — in four short years!  Let’s offer this image of our head of state broadening the global culture on his trip to Burma, er Myanmar, er, Burma, and collect a few captions for today.  This will, by the way, find its way into the OOTY polls as some point.


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Comment pages: 1 2 3

“Gimme some sugar, baby.”

rdbrewer on November 21, 2012 at 8:27 PM

SparkPlug on November 21, 2012 at 6:33 PM

Good evening :-)

Scrumpy on November 21, 2012 at 8:29 PM

U2denver on November 21, 2012 at 7:21 PM

OK. But you leftard drones still have a low-born, ill-bred, unmannered, dirt-common piece of trash as YOUR pResident.
YOUR preezy of the steezy is an embarrassment.

Solaratov on November 21, 2012 at 8:37 PM

narcotics
always
transcend
hurtful
obama
regrets

Kenosha Kid on November 21, 2012 at 8:40 PM

“Barack, I’d luv to kiss ya, but I just washed my hair.”

Hermeticus on November 21, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Caption,

Listen punk , If your don’t back off I’m giving this sword
your just walked into a quick twist.

Texyank on November 21, 2012 at 9:11 PM

Andrew Malcolm ,Ed ,and Hot Air are obviously letting their broken hearts and minds over the GOP election disaster lead them over the edge of insanity … talk about grasping at straws … sorry President Obama and Vice President Biden won … Romney /Ryan Palin etc lost … deal with it … four more years … Ed maybe you should go back to your special talent of deconstructing poll results and leave the writing to others …

U2denver on November 21, 2012 at 7:21 PM

What are you hallucinating about??
That spiel relates to nothing relevant to the topic.
You may be obsessed with the current election.
Get some rest.

Mimzey on November 21, 2012 at 9:13 PM

…no caption needed for the picture…I think JugEars just had bad breathe!

KOOLAID2 on November 21, 2012 at 9:15 PM

Obamateurism of the…

Oh wait.

Left Coast Right Mind on November 21, 2012 at 9:18 PM

Dirtball.
Period.

justltl on November 21, 2012 at 10:36 PM

It started with a whisper…

PA-Cman on November 21, 2012 at 10:54 PM

This is one time he should have bowed…

vulcannomad on November 21, 2012 at 11:04 PM

Andrew Malcolm ,Ed ,and Hot Air are obviously letting their broken hearts and minds over the GOP election disaster lead them over the edge of insanity … talk about grasping at straws … sorry President Obama and Vice President Biden won … Romney /Ryan Palin etc lost … deal with it … four more years … Ed maybe you should go back to your special talent of deconstructing poll results and leave the writing to others …

U2denver on November 21, 2012 at 7:21 PM

Anyone else notice how much U2denver sounds like this fella:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHmvkRoEowc&noredirect=1

U2denver . . . would you say your impulse to protect the slobberer in chief is stronger, weaker or about the same as your impulse to get people to Leave Britney Alone?

SoRight on November 21, 2012 at 11:09 PM

“lickey-lickey from western dickey is ickey-ickey.”

Or,

“You pay big american dollah for this in Bangkok, but no go here, Joe.”

locomotivebreath1901 on November 21, 2012 at 11:38 PM

Reggie Love smells just like you do.

profitsbeard on November 22, 2012 at 2:53 AM

Obama does these indecent acts with women in politics because he does intend to insult them. It’s him “dissing” them.

He makes no syllabic mispronunciation of “foreign words” taking extra care to pronounce them just.exactly.right.per.the.locals but with women in foreign political positions, Obama does the body-language gestures equivalent of tossing a drink in their faces.

This lips-attacking thing here and the repeated name-mispronounciation weren’t accidental or stupid, they were Obama sticking his finger up his nose and then wiping it on them symbolically.

Remember that middle finger of his up against his nose when HIllary Clinton or George Bush or McCain would speak, not to mention when Obama mentioned any of their “ideas”?

This “take my rubbery wet lips” thing here with this “little foreign lady” is the same thing.

Lourdes on November 22, 2012 at 6:17 AM

I wrote about this a long while ago when Obama took off for Europe before and after his first election.

He TRIED the “feel my arm on your body” grab with Germany’s Merkel but she was noticably not allowing Obama to stand close enough to her for him to make that indecent grab of her.

The grab I refer to is that indecent thing Obama does when he “meets” another — puts his hand first on their shoulder, then runs that hand down their bodies, usually along their back.

It’s very indecent body language EXCEPT with people you already know and already know well. Obama uses it to communicate not affection but lack of respect for the stature of someone else — his is so important, after all, in his mind, so meeting someone else in his presence means he must display his grandiosity to them and the absence of their “space” or “personal boundaries” when he’s there.

Lourdes on November 22, 2012 at 6:22 AM

My caption:

“It’ll be quick! It’s only an infectious intrusion, don’t resist, it only takes a second.”

Lourdes on November 22, 2012 at 6:24 AM

San Suu Kyi: Look. I been under house arrest twenty five year. Playa could you give a girl five minute?

:)

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on November 22, 2012 at 6:34 AM

U2denver on November 21, 2012 at 7:21 PM

And your delusion that this man is somehow “perfect” and can do no wrong because he was reelected is just as funny and ironic, douche bag. He and his VP are a walking, talking gaffomatic comedy team. I might start my own site just to carry the banner of OOTD.

And really, we’re just conditioned to respond in what we’ve been taught by your side is an appropriate level of discourse after seeing 8 years of George Bush being treated like a door mat.

Get ready for four more years of obamma’s incompetence and us pointing it out.

hawkdriver on November 22, 2012 at 8:21 AM

I’m shocked that there isn’t a staff member who coaches this fraud on the etiquette needed in cultures that are not American. His embarrassing manners undo a lot of respect that has taken years to establish. Coaching a narcissist takes exceptional talent and the four years of crass behavior vindicates the mentality in charge of the Nation.

mixplix on November 22, 2012 at 8:52 AM

I’ve spent many years traveling and living in S.E. Asia. Not even wives and husbands kiss in public. In private the older generation does not “western kiss”, they do what could be best described as a “sniff kiss”. There is an additional element that there is no getting around, upper class S.E. Asians think that any dark skinned person is dirty, this applies even to their own countrymen.

You can be sure that there will many more of these situations in the coming years from The One. Remember when he told us that he was best qualified to be president because he lived in a foreign country at age ten? What fools Americans are! Obama’s formative years were spent praying to allah and with a mother who hated white traditional America. He never went to Christian Sunday school, never played knothole baseball or Pee Wee football, never was a Scout, never rode a bike in the Memorial Day parade, never watched Disney or old John Wayne movies. In short, he was never inculcated in Americanism. He was inculcated in islam with a marxist third world view. He may be a legal resident and citizen of the United States of America, but he is not nor will he ever be an American. Only fellow lapsed “americans” could have put him in office. They should feel shame for their actions but they are incapable of doing so. Under Obama, America is eating its “seed corn” and it cannot ever be replaced. When the WW2 generation and their traditional “boomer” children are gone, this will be a socialist country. Remember what Lenin said, “The goal of socialism is communism”.

SpiderMike on November 22, 2012 at 10:03 AM

SpiderMike on November 22, 2012 at 10:03 AM

That was excellent.

onomo on November 22, 2012 at 11:00 AM

SpiderMike on November 22, 2012 at 10:03 AM

That was excellent.

onomo on November 22, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Yes, SpiderMike, that was excellent.

Lourdes on November 22, 2012 at 11:05 AM

global culture on his trip to Burma, er Myanmar, er, Burma

So does the media refer condescendingly to Burma’s other name as its “self-declared” name like they did to Israel’s ACTUAL capital of Jerusalem?

Nutstuyu on November 22, 2012 at 11:12 AM

U2denver on November 21, 2012 at 7:21 PM

And your delusion that this man is somehow “perfect” and can do no wrong because he was reelected is just as funny and ironic, douche bag. He and his VP are a walking, talking gaffomatic comedy team. I might start my own site just to carry the banner of OOTD.

And really, we’re just conditioned to respond in what we’ve been taught by your side is an appropriate level of discourse after seeing 8 years of George Bush being treated like a door mat.

Get ready for four more years of obamma’s incompetence and us pointing it out.

hawkdriver on November 22, 2012 at 8:21 AM

I love how Obummer being re-elected makes him even more brilliant, but apparently the same effect doesn’t apply to Bush.

Nutstuyu on November 22, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Obama, what a vulgar ape !

arand on November 22, 2012 at 11:24 AM

Haven’t read the entire thread, so someone may have beaten me to this.

“When a Democrat does it; it isn’t sexual assault, it is a blessing.”

Subotai Bahadur on November 22, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Kiss ya ugly wife.

Sams88 on November 22, 2012 at 12:02 PM

The Cambodia “servant” part is way better – she showed him who is boss. The US president is an Oaf.

On his trip to Cambodia, a country he claimed didn’t deserve a visit due to its strongman government, first lady Bun Rany greeted Obama with a traditional “sampeah” pressed-hands greeting reserved for servants, a little dig that was probably lost on him but not to Asians.

So what is really Obama’s tour about? Apparently a get-out-of-town photo-op all about himself as a means of avoiding pressing problems back home. The Asians deserve better — and so do the Americans.

But he also undermined his supposed democracy mission, first by telling the Burmese leaders that he too wished he could govern without opposition, calling into question whether he himself believed in the representative government he was advocating.

It didn’t help that he ignored the real heroes who helped push Burma toward a more open system — President and Mrs. Bush, as well as Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Sens. John McCain and Mitch McConnell, seeming to take credit for it himself.

Schadenfreude on November 22, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Relax baby…the US Taxpayers will pay for the abortion.

Klem Kadiddlehopper on November 22, 2012 at 12:19 PM

The Ugly American.

“In the novel, a Burmese journalist says “For some reason, the [American] people I meet in my country are not the same as the ones I knew in the United States. A mysterious change seems to come over Americans when they go to a foreign land. They isolate themselves socially. They live pretentiously. They’re loud and ostentatious.”

Mimzey on November 22, 2012 at 12:26 PM

On his trip to Cambodia, a country he claimed didn’t deserve a visit due to its strongman government, first lady Bun Rany greeted Obama with a traditional “sampeah” pressed-hands greeting reserved for servants, a little dig that was probably lost on him but not to Asians.

In the sampeah, “the higher the hands and the lower the bow, the more respect is shown.” …the ocular proof.

Akzed on November 22, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Schadenfreude on November 22, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Heh. Great minds and all…

Akzed on November 22, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Don’t give me none of your lines and keep your hands to yourself.

Mojave Mark on November 22, 2012 at 6:34 PM

Don’t let bad breath spoil that special date!

claudius on November 23, 2012 at 9:26 AM

Obama: “Feel that? It’s gabardine.”

Lourdes on November 23, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Like “whole load Joe” said baby..I carry a big stick.

bluesdoc70 on November 23, 2012 at 2:00 PM

* whispering in her ear *

“After my election, I’ll have more flexibility.”

But at this very moment Brr Brr, under this $5000.00 suite, I beeez quite Inflexible …. If you know what I mean.

Hornet on November 23, 2012 at 5:54 PM

Uh, I don’t think so.

I had a date with Kobe once.

NoPain on November 23, 2012 at 6:20 PM

And the left wing kooks were apoplectic over the Bush backrub on Merkel. Look at how awkward their boy Obama is on the world stage.

TonyR on November 24, 2012 at 12:56 AM

Look! It is important to fully inflate your Chinese people.

Bulletchaser on November 24, 2012 at 2:21 PM

Confirmed: Black dudes fawn over asian chicks.

kregg on November 25, 2012 at 7:40 AM

No broken Protocol here. When questioned, his response “is” “Bill did stuff like this all the time”. So it “is” OK with me too.

MSGTAS on November 26, 2012 at 8:41 AM

Obi-Wrong Baracki can kiss my…

Olo_Burrows on November 30, 2012 at 4:55 AM

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