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. Turnabout is Fair Play

    FORMER republican, NEVER again! June 3rd, 2009 5:33 pm ET

    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

    I actually have a picture of them about to kiss from the St. Petersburg Times in Florida! LOL!

    June 3, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  2. GrrlCanada

    Why are some people so surprised that Obama would receive a gesture of respect from a head of state? It is not unheard of for one head of state to offer a gesture of honor to another as a sign of alliance and friendship. Y'know, a gesture of respect... kinda like bowing to royalty. Both the gift and the bowing are something called etiquette ...you know, something that creates a peaceful and harmonious setting?

    June 3, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  3. LacrosseMom

    @ Brian in AZ....... Yes Bin Laden *** ordered*** the attack, BUT......... ALL 7 terrorists were Saudi nationals. And still Bush kissed-up. Its a fact.

    June 3, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  4. Albo58

    And let me guess, Obama gave the King a slightly used Barry White and the Love Unlimitied Orchestra 8-track tape?

    June 3, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  5. Retired Army in San Antonio

    Uh.... June 3rd, 2009 5:41 pm ET

    Why do the Saudis always have to do stupid stuff? Why can't a handshake be sufficient.


    Dude.......this gift giving has been the 'Arab way' for more than 3000 years.

    It is what it is.........

    June 3, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  6. Lori asks the GOP why Saddam is dead but Bin Laden is Alive?!!

    Hey... Isn't it funny that Republicans call President Obama a 'Muslim' like it's a scarlett letter BUT they defend the war in Iraq by saying that President Bush 'liberated' 27 million Muslims??? Those Republicans are complete idiots. If President Obama is bad because he's a so-called Muslim to them, then why are Republicans so HAPPY that we've spent billions of U.S tax dollars rebuilding and 'liberating' a Muslim country (Iraq). Conservatives are a joke! I would rather an intelligent and progressive Muslim living in my community than a Republican with no common sense.

    June 3, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  7. LacrosseMom

    @ Former republican, NEVER again!......... You are right!! The GOPers like to demean and rant against President Obama..... but they forget that not ONLY Bush, but Saint Reagan, etc., have ALL bowed to the Saudi kings and princes!

    PS. "Former republican..." I am a a former republican too! Freed at last!

    June 3, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  8. Ulyses

    Boy that is some Serious Major Bling there King. How ya know the Brotha would love it? Lets pawn it and pay off some of the debt that
    Bush left us.

    June 3, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  9. arithmetic is liberal

    gerry June 3rd, 2009 5:37 pm ET

    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

    Let's not get on that bus too quickly.

    Remember, we still need to CLOSE GITMO and STOP THE TRIBUNALS!!

    June 3, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  10. m smith

    again the repos are showing their lack of knowledge . It is a gift get over it. Insulting some one for giving you a gift is not a great idea. He didn't ask for it. Are you all just crazy or what. Stop fighting the electionis over. Even ol newt and limbaug are eating crow today.

    June 3, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  11. Felonious Monk

    So what!

    Mr. T has several of these!

    June 3, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  12. Maggie lou

    to the GOP'ers =better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open you mouth and remove all doubt.

    June 3, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  13. Sick -n- Tired

    If that medal were around Bush's neck would CNN be calling it "bling"? Leads a person to wonder! Oh, by the way I'm a white guy from the northeast in case you're wondering!

    June 3, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  14. Moderate Democrat

    Uhmmm....ok, I can admit it. Now that's just funny,

    (but once again, he pulls it off so well. He truly is a statesman and a gentleman. A man to be admired by all walks of life, other then low lifes).

    June 3, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  15. Bill

    Obama is in the process of making a fool out of himself and this country. We owe no apologies to the muslim world. They are a bunch of murdering savages that should be bombed back into the 7th century. I'd love to push the button.

    June 3, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  16. MK

    At least President Obama is not holding the hand of the Saudi leader like W did, hell I thought at one point that W would plant a kiss on the guy too.

    June 3, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  17. sheldon

    The headline is stereotypical and racist....cnn this is a disgrac and disgusting....this is how cnn tries to disguise racism, thru...humour?

    June 3, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  18. Nancy

    You don't insult the giver. It just shows we are buying too much Saudi oil. For Rob and Mike, Obama has shown he can handle more than one thing at a time. Were you complaining about the time Bush spent on the ranch? He couldn't show up for Katrina.

    Obama has an opportunity to make a difference in our relations with a significant part of the world population and repair some of the damage done in the last 8 years. Thank goodness.

    June 3, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  19. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    @FORMER republican, NEVER again! If Obama was really using the money to rebuild America I would support it. Much of Obama's stimulus has absolutely nothing to do with that, but are items long on the liberal spending wish list. The fact that the economy is showing signs of recovery long before the vast majority of stimulus money is even spent says that it isn't really needed. Bush's deficits were bad, Obama's are 2-3 times Bush's.

    June 3, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  20. Lynn

    Republicans are envious and sadly worried that the president will do as he has set out to do (very unAmaerican) and that NOT ONE of their socalled leaders would ever be able to put their behinds on the line by giving a major speech in ANY country in the world. Who would show up and what kind of mood would they be in?? It just reinforces that the Republican Party is the party of war and hate.

    Their ignorance is displayed on here both by the ridiculous and insulting claim of the blog that the highest order a country gives has been bestowed on the President that it is "bling" and has anything to do with the recession and those usual naysayers repeating their inane talking points.

    June 3, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  21. Alan

    He IS NOT bowing to the king. The weight of the neakless has him bent over!

    June 3, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  22. Simmy

    You always represent US well, Mr. President.....I have no doubt you'll strike the right balance in your speech tomorrow.....I am praying for your safety on all of your visits, and a safe trip back home.....God bless you and the great country you are representing.......Peace....
    Tom and Others,

    Will you please move beyond your notions that the President's staying home (in American and the White House) is going to ease the conflicts that we the people face? It's sounding old and stupid.....Life goes on.....Life is what you make it.....If you have been dealt a heavy blow, pick yourself up by your bootstraps, or sandals, and keep stepping.....It's not over 'til it's over.....

    These problems were in the making for eight years......Bush's plan was to keep the mess concealed until he was gone, but God didn't let him get away with it....Truth always rises from the earth sooner or later....President Obama is stuck with it, and is doing an excellent job....Happy with my man.....Don't hate -- Celebrate.....

    June 3, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  23. Tim, Seattle

    "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.

    Yeah, sort of like Cheney's secret energy summit, faulty Iraq-Al Queda intelligence that wasnt shared for years

    June 3, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  24. Ken in NC

    @ 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!
    Tom you are one natural idiot. You are not bright enough to realize that people today can multitask. The President can run the country from Air Force One. He does not have to be in the White House to do it. You impress me as one of those people that feels President Obama should always stay at the White House and work for the next 4 years. Well surprise. We did not buy a slave. That practice stopped a couple of years ago. He is free to come and go at will just like any other President. Just because he is Mixed race does not give you the right to dictate how is is to run the White House. Get over it TOM.

    June 3, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  25. No To Obama

    What are you going to do Sell The whitehhouse to your muslim brothers?

    June 3, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
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