Did He Bow? The Last Word

Some people think that President Obama’s bow to King Abdullah was significant, not only because it was a naive breach of protocol, but because such signs of submission are taken seriously in the Arab world. (In fact, Obama’s bow received approving coverage in the Arab press.) But apart from anything else, the story is worth following for comic relief. Today, a reporter asked Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about it:

QUESTION: And then one unrelated question. When the president met with King Abdullah, there was something that took place which I believe the White House explained as just the president being taller than the king. We took a look at the video, and it does appear that the president actually bowed to King Abdullah. Did he bow or didn’t he?

GIBBS: No, I think he bent over with both to shake — with both hands to shake his hand, so I don’t…

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) one hand, that he — he was just…

GIBBS: Well I — I — I — this is…

QUESTION: Did he bow or didn’t he?

GIBBS: No, but I think this meeting was like a week ago, right?

QUESTION: That’s right, but this is something that a lot of people are still talking about today.

GIBBS: I can only imagine it is of great cause and concern for many people struggling with the economy.

There you have it. Having issued a false explanation of Obama’s bow, the administration has Moved On.

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