June 3rd, 2009
05:00 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama's bling: U.S. deficit reduction plan?

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (CNN) - President Obama's royal welcome here from King Abdallah included a gigantic gold necklace so ostentatious that White House aides are privately joking it could help solve America's debt problem if it was turned in to a pawn shop.

The necklace is officially called the King Abdul Aziz Order of Merit, the kingdom's highest honor. It's so massive that when Obama draped the necklace over his neck, it seemed to hang down near the commander-in-chief's waist.

Perhaps mindful that such a showy bit of bling might not exactly go over well in the middle of a U.S. recession, the president quickly removed the necklace by politely saying it would be good to take it away for "safe keeping."

One senior White House official later joked to CNN that the necklace is the administration's new "deficit reduction plan." Would the White House really sell it off?

No way, the official quickly added with a smile, because the move "might not be received well" by his Saudi hosts.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. forty

    w ever get this?

    June 3, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. The Broker.

    Obama's Blink?

    June 3, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  3. FORMER republican, NEVER again!

    Very nice, our PResident does us PROUD. Where was the republican anger when bush kissed the saudi king on his lips and walked with him holding hands??? There are pictures of this, go look for yourself.

    June 3, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. LacrosseMom


    Careful with your vile comments, remember the photos of Bush......

    KISSING.......... and HOLDING HANDS ....... and BOWING to the Saudi royalty????

    Don't forget that the Bush family has had a very close and long relationship with the house of Saud! And remember....... it was Saudi nationals who attacked us on 9/11!

    June 3, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  5. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Order of Merit? For what, spending money?

    June 3, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  6. gerry

    Twenty to thirty years from now, this trip by President Obama and his speech tomorrow to the Moslem world will be viewed as the start of real peace in the Middle East.

    Thank you Mr. President

    June 3, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  7. Rob

    Wait a minute I thought obama said his grandfather was NOT amuslim but now he says his grandfather was a muslim. I'm so confused with all the lies. obama quit ruining our country, and people get a brain and think for yourself instead of just saying everything our president does is great. This is obama recession.

    June 3, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  8. FORMER republican, NEVER again!

    LacrosseMom – AMEN! The rethugs don't wanna hear that though, they cringe from the truth.

    June 3, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  9. Uh....

    Why do the Saudis always have to do stupid stuff? Why can't a handshake be sufficient. The president is trying to be nice and they just make it difficult.

    Do they really think he's going to wear that somewhere? No, they just want to present it to him, and for what?

    Good luck President Obama, hurry up and get out of there.

    June 3, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  10. Vickie

    Does your chain hang low! 🙂

    June 3, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  11. Brian in AZ

    I'm curious what Obama got for the Saudis...I hope it was better than a box set of film classics (like the slap in the face given the British)–especially since a lot of those films would be grossly too vile for the muslim hosts.

    Seriously, I can't think of any proper diplomatic gift for the occasion...it should be something emblematic of the positive side of historic relations between the two nations. Maybe that's a bad sign that there isn't much positive history between us. Only bombs.

    Specifcally, it was Osama Bin Laden who attacked the US, and his primary motivation was US involvement with Isreal. Bush could've been his adopted father, he still would've ordered the planes hijacked on 9/11.

    June 3, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  12. Cowboy in West Texas

    I have no problem with our President showing respect to other world leaders – and it is usually expected to show the appropriate respect by the customs of that country.

    What a worry about is what he says and what kind of deals he makes – the deals we might not learn about for weeks or months.

    June 3, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  13. Claudia in Houson

    The Saudis do it right , nothing cheap for President Obama.

    June 3, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  14. Kelby In Houston, TX

    Man that is a NICE piece and chain (to the uninitiated: piece and chain refers to a medalion and necklace)
    If he put on his sunglasses and had a mic in his hand, he would look like a rapper!
    Everbody who has even heard of photoshop is going to have fun with these pictures

    June 3, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  15. proud army navy mom

    nice chain, I will take it off the President's hand if he can't use it.

    June 3, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  16. Proud American

    As a man of color I'm insulted. That thing looks like something a rap singer would wear.... Come on he's the President of the United States, not Bow Wow.....

    June 3, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    LOL! That picture is priceless. The necklace probably is too haha.

    But seriously, after Bush kissed the King, etc., he never got somethign like this...so the GOPers are going to try to turn it into something negative. Should be amusing.

    June 3, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  18. FORMER republican, NEVER again!

    Mike, Syracuse, NY – why do republicans hate it that President Obama is spending money trying to rebuild this country? Do you miss the republicans (and bush) pouring money to Iraq trying to rebuild them and Haliburton trying to make cheyney rich?

    June 3, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  19. Tom

    I'm sorry I think that maybe Mr. Obama should be home in his own country when we are dealing with the biggest company ever to file for Bankruptcy! I am so sick and tired of this half rate administration and it has only been six months.......Oh and please no one call me a conservative republican or say that I was a fan of President Bush becuase i'm niether! I am just an American Citizen that believes that this country is heading in the wrong direction and that I have seen very little "change" since this administration took place more than 6 months ago! Oh wait no i'm sorry our national debt took a trillion dollar hit but hey why not?

    June 3, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  20. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    The pres got bling!

    June 3, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  21. BC

    Focus Rob! There is nothing new here. The President has always said his father was a Muslim and that he was from Kenya.

    And "Forty" you are absolutely correct, former President Bush also received this award and I did not see any of these silly comments at that time.

    June 3, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  22. mike

    I wonder if President Obama will bring up the recent beheading and cruxifiction in Saudi Arabia? Though I applaud his efforts to reach out the the muslim world.

    June 3, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  23. Gimmy

    Order of Merit? For what, spending money?
    How about it's a gesture of respect for being the President of the United States!!!!!!! Period.

    June 3, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  24. rachel

    Now does obama have to pay taxes on that before he comes back to USA.

    June 3, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  25. Stu in Las Vegas

    TO:Rob June 3rd, 2009 5:38 pm ET

    Wait a minute I thought obama said his grandfather was NOT amuslim but now he says his grandfather was a muslim. I'm so confused with all the lies. obama quit ruining our country, and people get a brain and think for yourself instead of just saying everything our president does is great. This is obama recession

    *** Rob isn't too bright. Obama had 2 grandfathers and 2 grandmothers like most do, one was white and Christian, and the other was black and Muslim Duh !

    You are not confused, you are just republican idiot.

    June 3, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
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