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Conservatives, WH Spar Over Saudi "Bow"

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Did President Obama bow to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at last week's G-20 meeting?

Conservatives say yes – and some aren't happy about it. The White House, meanwhile, says the president did nothing of the kind.

Ben Smith has the story. As he notes, the president met Abdullah last week in London and appeared to bow to the Saudi leader, prompting outrage from some conservative quarters.

"The President of the United States executed a bow to a monarch so deep that he literally had to take a step back to balance himself," wrote Hot Air.

"No American President should ever make such an obsequious display to any monarch — ever," added the blogger.

(Memeorandum has links to much more reaction here.)

Here, thanks to CQblogger, is video of the moment:

A White House aide, speaking anonymously, told Smith that the president's movement "wasn't a bow" – and suggested that it resulted from a height disparity.

"He grasped his hand with two hands, and he's taller than King Abdullah," the aide said.

Was the motion, as the conservative Washington Times suggests in an editorial, a "shocking," protocol-breaking "display of fealty to a foreign potentate" "befitting a king's subjects, not his peer?" Was the White House's explanation satisfactory? And if the president did bow – does it matter?

(Liberal Alan Colmes says no. Conservative Power Line says the bow is less the issue than the White House's denial, which the blog deems false.)

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