Is President Obama “on the take”? To many it would seem so, especially after reading this article
“Foreign leaders showered President Barack Obama and his family with hundreds of thousands of dollars in art, jewelry, rare books and other presents during their first year in the White House.
Saudi Arabia’s king was the most generous gift-giver, according to documents released by the State Department on Tuesday. Saudi King Abdullah gave Obama, his wife and daughters nearly $190,000 in luxury baubles in 2009, including the single most valuable gift reported to have been given to U.S. officials that year: a ruby and diamond jewelry set, including earrings, a ring, a bracelet and necklace, for the first lady worth $132,000.”
Well, not so fast, I guess. As it turns out and much to my pleasure, the Obama’s aren’t allowed to keep the newfound riches. Apparently there is a law preventing them from keeping any gifts along these lines(although there are exceptions to what can and can’t be kept), so some of the gifts have already been turned over to the National Archives.
The Saudi King wasn’t the only gift-giver… Italy’s Prime Minister Berlusconi shared his generosity with the Obama’s.
“with gifts for the first family worth a little under $33,000. The Italian haul included silk ties, a gold watch, a crystal table and candlesticks. Berlusconi also gave nearly $2,000 worth of ties and scarves to members of Congress in 2009, including the speaker of the House at the time, Nancy Pelosi.”
The First Family weren’t the only benefactors of foreign
“Senior White House officials were also recipients of King Abdullah’s largesse, with top aides like national security adviser James Jones, David Axelrod, Rahm Emmanuel, Valerie Jarrett and spokesman Robert Gibbs receiving watches, cufflinks, pens, earrings and bracelets valued at between $5,000 and $9,000.”
Here is a complete Gift List by country:
*a ruby and diamond jewelry set, including earrings, a ring, a bracelet and necklace, for the first lady worth $132,000.
*Michelle Obama with a $14,200 pearl necklace.
*the president a marble clock adorned with miniature gold palm trees and camels valued at $34,500.
*first daughters Sasha and Malia Obama diamond earrings and necklaces worth more than $7,000.
*gifts for the first family including silk ties, a gold watch, a crystal table and candlesticks worth a little under $33,000
*gave Obama a $20,000 silk embroidery of the first family.
*sent perfume and a $4,500 black Christian Dior handbag.
*gave the president a pen and holder made from the wood of the warship HMS Gannet, which played a role in Victorian era anti-slavery efforts, along with two biographies of Winston Churchill with a total value of $16,510.
*gave Obama a bronze statue of a girl releasing doves, worth $8,000 and Pope Benedict XVI gave the president a gilt-framed mosaic of St. Peter’s Square, a decorative gold coin with the pontiff’s profile and several books valued at $7,905.
*presented Obama with framed portraits of herself and her husband, Prince Philip, worth $775.
*offered the U.S. leader $521 in gifts, including the least expensive item listed by the State Department: a $75 bottle of olive oil.
Foreign dignitaries aren’t the only considerate ones though! Not to be outdone, President Obama demonstrated his own generosity:
- He gave England one slightly used desktop bust of Winston Churchill
- He gave a box set of DVDs, allegedly in the wrong format, and a couple of models of Marine One
- He gave Queen Elizabeth one iPod pre-loaded with President Obama’s list of his favorite speeches that he has given over the years. Oh and his favorite rap tunes too.
- He is currently working on giving the rest of the world our money through global redistribution of wealth
… That Obama! He’s way too generous!!!