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43 meets 44

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:46 am
by Rspaight
As a TPM reader pointed out, Obama will be sitting down today to talk to an unpopular and aggressive world leader with no preconditions. How naive.

In any event, here's an amusing excerpt from Obama's book on the first time he met W.

The inside of the White House doesn't have the luminous quality that you might expect from television or film; it seems well kept but worn, a big old house that one imagines might be a bit drafty on cold winter nights.

On a chilly January afternoon in 2005, the day before my swearing-in as a senator, I was invited there with other new members of Congress. At 1600 hours on the dot, President Bush was announced and walked to the podium, looking vigorous and fit, with that jaunty, determined walk that suggests he's on a schedule and wants to keep detours to a minimum. For 10 or so minutes he spoke to the room, making a few jokes, calling for the country to come together, before inviting us for refreshments and a picture with him and the First Lady...

"Obama!" he said, shaking my hand. "Come here and meet Laura. Laura, you remember Obama. We saw him on TV during election night. Beautiful family. And that wife of yours - that's one impressive lady."

"We both got better than we deserve, Mr. President," I said, shaking the First Lady's hand and hoping that I'd wiped any crumbs off my face.

The president turned to an aide nearby, who squirted a big dollop of hand sanitizer in the president's hand.

"Want some?" the president asked. "Good stuff. Keeps you from getting colds." Not wanting to seem unhygienic, I took a squirt.

"Come over here for a second," he said, leading me off to one side of the room.

"You know," he said quietly, "I hope you don't mind me giving you a piece of advice."

"Not at all, Mr. President." He nodded.

"You've got a bright future," he said. "Very bright. But I've been in this town a while and, let me tell you, it can be tough. When you get a lot of attention like you've been getting, people start gunnin' for ya. And it won't necessarily just be coming from my side, you understand. From yours, too. Everybody'll be waiting for you to slip. Know what I mean? So watch yourself."

"Thanks for the advice, Mr. President."

"All right. I gotta get going. You know, me and you got something in common."

"What's that?"

"We both had to debate Alan Keyes. That guy's a piece of work, isn't he?"

I laughed, and as we walked to the door I told him a few stories from the campaign.

It wasn't until he had left the room that I realized I had briefly put my arm over his shoulder as we talked -- an unconscious habit of mine, but one that I suspected might have made many of my friends, not to mention the Secret Service agents in the room, more than a little uneasy.

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 6:30 pm
by David R. Modny
I heard the hand sanitizer bit yesterday. Truly creepy, eh?

Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 8:46 am
by Rspaight
To be fair, I'm sure the President shakes a billion hands a day, and he probably would be sick a lot more if he didn't do that.

At least he was polite and offered Obama some.

Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 8:59 am
by David R. Modny
I just think it was tacky to do it in front of someone whom he had just met for the first time (and possibly in front of other dignitaries). I've got to believe a good deal of African-Americans -- and probably some other folks as well -- might take slight offense to someone "sanitizing" his or her hands if they were just introduced to that person. At that very least, he probably should have excused himself or been a bit more discrete about it.

Of course, this passage doesn't really say if he did this *immediately* after shaking his hand. If that were the case, it would seem a bit odd (and classless) IMHO.

(And yes, I''m all for killing germs) :)

Miss Manners Modny

PS - The postscript to this story is that, apparently, Obama got "turned on" himself to the use of hand sanitizers as a result of this little! So, all's well that ends well!

Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:23 pm
by Rspaight
Well, "Bush" and "discrete" don't exactly go together.

Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 5:16 pm
by David R. Modny
Rspaight wrote:Well, "Bush" and "discrete" don't exactly go together.

That's an I'm thinking somewhere along the lines of John Wayne. The cowboy mentality.

Posted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 7:58 pm
by Aftermath
Bush's joke about Keyes is pretty funny. The guy really is a nutjob

Posted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 8:53 am
by Rspaight
I actually get a chuckle out of that, too. When Bush and Obama can agree someone's whacko, that's a solid diagnosis.