President Barack Obama takes off a gift of a gold necklace called the King Abdul Aziz Order of Merit, the country's highest honor, for safekeeping after it was given to him by Saudi King Abdullah at the start of their bilateral meeting at the King's Farm in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, June 3, 2009. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Obama received a great honor from King Abdullah, the King Abdul Aziz Order of Merit. In addition to being a hefty chunk of gold, it's a significant symbolic gesture.
President George W. Bush received the same honor. (Photo at Flopping Aces)
From the Telegraph:
Barack Obama was greeted with an elaborate welcoming ceremony and given an ornate gold necklace by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on his first visit to the country.
King Abdullah, who is putting Obama up at his lavish desert horse farm, showered Obama with compliments as he handed him the jewellery, which he said carries special meaning.
It is understood to be an award called the King Abdul Aziz Order of Merit, the country's highest honour.
The gift appeared to be the same as that bestowed on President George W. Bush during a stop in Saudi Arabia in January 2008.
"Those are only given to the very few friends of the king, and you are certainly one of those," Abdullah said as he presented the thick chain and large medallion to Obama in an ornate meeting room with marble columns, engraved mirrors and a large chandelier.
Obama replied: "I consider the king's friendship a great blessing, and I am very appreciative that he would bestow this honour on me during this visit."
Then, as an aide approached him with the necklace, Obama exclaimed: "Goodness gracious. That's something there."
The king draped it around Obama's neck, and the taller Obama bent his head low to accept it.
It was a risky move as, when the two leaders saw each other back at the G-20 summit in London, critics accused Obama of bowing to the Saudi monarch during a photo-op.
It wasn't risky at all. Obama bending down to assist the king while he put the chain on him is not the same as Obama bowing at the waist when he met the king at the G-20 summit.
Obama's reaction to the gift is priceless: "Goodness gracious. That's something there."
Yes, it sure is something.
Obama isn't good with jewelry. I hope he doesn't misplace it, like he misplaced his American flag lapel pin.
I don't think Obama plans to wear the chain much. He's no Soulja Boy.