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. Peter E

    Since at least Reagan we've been in the pockets of Saudis. And don't blame this on politicians either! It is YOU the gas-guzzling consumer who put us in their pocket! Every time you fill up the tank every tenth dollar of oil profit goes directly to the Middle East! And our own oil companies aren't helping either. Instead of actually selling the oil they produce to Americans, they are selling it on the international market, fixing their prices along with the Saudis to those international prices. We wouldn't have to import oil from the Middle East if our own oil companies stopped selling oil to foreign countries, and instead sold that oil to America. That way your dollars could stay in America as well. But oil companies just want to make profit, without regulation, and screw the rest of America in the process.

    June 3, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  2. Avi Shlomo

    Donate it to the children of Gaza!!

    June 3, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  3. Kevin B

    I see the irrational republican right wing haters trying to figure out something nasty to say about this gift, folks really need to give the negativity a rest.

    Its not good for the soul......

    June 3, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  4. fools, fooled by obama

    this bozo better not apologise to the muslims on MY or Americas' behalf !!!

    June 3, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  5. Donny, Sacramento

    for everyone who seems to think Obama should be doing this or that back here in the US instead of shaking hands in the Mid East...think long and hard about what it was like filling up your tanks last summer and how the prices are creeping up again. A little pressing of the flesh is never a bad thing. Not only is he elected to help us out here...but he is to help us abroad too.

    June 3, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  6. I give up

    what did he give them? dvd?

    June 3, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  7. Bill

    Yes, the only person smiling is the IRS......

    June 3, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    This is nothing! Did you ever check out a piece of bling they gave to Condoleeza Rice?!

    June 3, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  9. Dimslie

    Nice necklace, Barry. Don't forget to bow.

    June 3, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  10. Juan

    What a waste of a gold chain.

    June 3, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  11. David

    WOW....Congratulations President Obama for receiving the kings highest honor with only 5 months in office for his diplomacy efforts. Bush had to commit to $20 Billion in advanced U.S. weaponry, including Patriot missiles before he was given the Order of Merit.

    June 3, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  12. Amateur Hour

    Wow I bet he comes home and puts a clock on that chain.......

    June 3, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  13. Sharon-NY

    LacrosseMom-Bush didn't bow to King of Saudi, but Obama did bow before him. I saw the film 20 times more through news channel of mainstream medias.

    forty June 3rd, 2009 5:29 pm ET –w ever get this?

    As a American citizen, I never ever expect for the President of USA to get such a gold medal or to bow down before King of Muslim countries that had attacked US on 9/11. It doesn't matter how the gold madal cost.

    June 3, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  14. Jon in CA

    Article states,

    "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."


    Funny – Obama didn't think twice about spending $24,000+ of taxpayer money for a night out in NYC but he wanted to quickly remove the gift from the Saudi King??

    Maybe it was so heavy it was causing him to bend over – appearing he was "bowing". Wouldn't want THAT – I mean Obama wouldn't EVER bow to another State leader – would he?

    June 3, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  15. The Party of NO is only “pro-life” to save a zygote now, so it can then kill the “babies” 18 years later as soldiers in an elective religious war

    Since I am pretty sure federal lay prevents President Obama from keeping such a gift, I say melt that puppy down and donate the proceeds to help states with the unemployment costs!

    June 3, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  16. ib

    The perfect gift would be for Obama to stay over there. He loves them so much and this country would be so much better off. Liberals; Bush is gone you now have looney tunes as president and this country is going to pay dearly for that.

    June 3, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  17. justin

    Eat you r heart out slick Rick. I hope President Obama has seen "Im Gonna Get You Sucka" and knows those things are addictive.

    June 3, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  18. Shelagh

    Looks like an Olympic gold medal to me! And appropriately so–given that Obama certainly "hit the ground running" and hasn't stopped since! 🙂

    June 3, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  19. big papa

    Unite the world Mr. President...

    ...we'll handle the vile traitors in THIS country...

    June 3, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  20. The Original No Incumbents 2010

    You know, that might actually go over great in L.A. or even Detroit.

    June 3, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  21. makesUwonder

    Now with that big gold thing around Obama's neck, he looks just like a rapper. Wonder if he had to bow for the gift?

    June 3, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  22. Donatella

    Yeah Bush got one, but of course it was not noted on CNN.

    June 3, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  23. makesUwonder

    "Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Obama loses his job".

    June 3, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  24. Steve, Columbia SC

    Maybe the Saudis would pay serious money to watch our president bow the their king again, and again, and again, and again..............now that's what I call a deficit reduction plan.

    The real deficit reduction plan won't be implemented until the next presidential election in 2012 when we reduce the deficit demoncrat president count by one.

    June 3, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  25. Cynthia - Arkansas

    It is so wonderful to have a President that is respected and admired around the world! He makes me proud.

    June 3, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
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