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April 9, 2009

EDITORIAL: Barack takes a bow

Posted: 01:00 AM ET

via Washington Times

In a shocking display of fealty to a foreign potentate, President Obama bowed to Saudi King Abdullah at the Group of 20 summit in London last week.

Mr. Obama later said in Strasbourg, France, "We have to change our behavior in showing the Muslim world greater respect." Symbolism is important in world affairs. By bending over to show greater respect to Islam, the U.S. president belittled the power and independence of the United States.

The bow was an extraordinary protocol violation. Such an act is a traditional obeisance befitting a king's subjects, not his peer. There is no precedent for U.S. presidents bowing to Saudi or any other royals. Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt shook hands with Saudi King Abdulaziz in February 1945. Granted, Mr. Roosevelt was wheelchair-bound, but former President Dwight D. Eisenhower shook hands when he first met King Saud in January 1957. Mr. Obama's bow to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques does not help his image with those who believe he is secretly a Muslim, and why he chose to bow only to the Saudi King and not to any other royals remains unexplained.

No Americans of any station are required to bow to royalty. It is one of the pillars of American exceptionalism that our country rejected traditional caste divisions. Article I Section 9 of the Constitution forbids titles of nobility and stipulates that no officeholder or government employee may "accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state" without the consent of Congress. Judith Martin wrote in her Miss Manners column in 2001 that bowing "is not an ordinary bit of foreign etiquette one might adopt out of courtesy when traveling. ... Americans do not properly bow to any royalty. We show respect for other countries' leaders the same way we do to our own."

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Filed under: Larry King Live • Politics • President Obama


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kier88   April 9th, 2009 8:07 am ET

This is quite clearly a bow! Anybody with functioning eyeballs can see that!!


Terry, TX   April 9th, 2009 8:30 am ET

It Was A Bow….it was disgusting….and the White House spinners are Lying. It’s on video. This was one of the many unpresidential things he’s did while traveling. He didn’t bow to the Queen of England and Michelle did not curtsy..and I don’t believe they should have. So why bow to an Muslin Islamic Head of State? Well…he’s making up for it….with celebrating Seder at the White House tonight….I guess he wants to be sure to give out the message of “Have a Happy Passover”…before he installs the Islamic Sharia Law in this country and Iran blows Israel off the face of the earth.


hope   April 9th, 2009 8:38 am ET

Aye, that was defnitely a bow. Unfortunatley, after 8 years of bush telling the world to kiss his backside, I guess Its a "gesture" of sorts.


Terry, TX   April 9th, 2009 9:34 am ET

Hope...Bush did not tell "the world to kiss his backside"....tell me where I can see or hear where he said that....I didn't hear the head of states he visited complain about their previous leaders...I just heard him complaining about the previous American administration and insulting Americans...in his own words.


Michael C. McHugh   April 9th, 2009 10:06 am ET

A silly “story” typical of the right wing, that we know will criticize Obama no matter what he does. We can expect “stories” like these every day as long as he’s president. I understand that they are just trying to derail all his reforms, so these attacks mean zero to me.

By the way, if they think we don’t have a caste system in this country, they have forgotten all about slavery and segregation, and also about our long history of discrimination against all non-WASPS.


ge   April 9th, 2009 10:28 am ET

i remember bush holding hands with the saudi king like they were on a first date and i remember the taliban party at his ranch before 911 what was that allabout


Jay   April 9th, 2009 11:29 am ET

We have been bowing to the oil rich Saudis for years, do you know where the 911 hijackers come from.


Justice for the Righteous   April 9th, 2009 4:48 pm ET

Obama violated protocol. American presidents do not bow before foreign dignitaries, whether they are princes, kings, or emperors. Right-wing blogs went nuts over Obama's deep bow, but left-wing blogs and mainstream publications ignored the affront to American tradition. The New York Times made no mention at all of Obama's submissive posture, which was odd because, as one blogger noted, the paper used to consider such a gaffe "unthinkable


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