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.