News Column

Obama's Bow to Saudi King Irks Conservatives

April 3, 2009


barack obama, michelle obama, saudi king, ceremonial bow

President Barack Obama stirred the dander of conservative commentators by bowing before the Saudi Arabian King Abdullah during the G20 summit on Thursday. Ed. note: though at least one conservative pundit has a decidedly different view; please see: Bush Also Bowed Before the Saudi King "Heads of state do NOT bow to Kings," fumed an unnamed commentator whose blogis published on, a TV news station in Bismarck, N.D. "George Bush held hands with Saudi royalty. You show respect, you do not act as an inferior. The tempest came on the heels of a similar kerfuffle over Michelle Obama's supposed breach of etiquette when laying a hand on the back of Queen Elizabeth. "The whole thing is embarrassing," said leading conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. "It's like the 'American Hillbillies go to Europe'. He is throwing American power and prestige out with both hands as fast as he can." However, an American etiquette expert came to President Obama's defense in the Herald, saying bowing is an appropriate sign of respect. "(The bow) in no way diminishes the ranking of the President or indicates the greater strength of [the king]," Gloria Starr told the paper. "I bowed, wore the attire, ate the figs as a sign of respect when I was in Saudi. I applaud the President for showing this courtesy."

Source: (c) 2009. All rights reserved.

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