Politico cited criticism of Obama's iPod gift by "etiquette expert," but WH says queen requested it

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

The Politico reported that President Obama presented Queen Elizabeth II with "a personalized iPod," and noted criticism of the gift by an "etiquette expert," but did not mention that the White House reportedly said Queen Elizabeth asked for the iPod.

In an April 1 article, the Politico reported that President Obama presented Queen Elizabeth II with "a personalized iPod," and added, "The bestowing of the Royal iPod brought a cringe from one top etiquette expert, who said it confirmed that Obama hasn't figured out presidential gift giving." But while Politico staff writer Nia-Malika Henderson noted criticism of the gift by "etiquette expert" Anna Post of the Emily Post Institute, Henderson did not mention that the White House reportedly said Queen Elizabeth asked for the iPod that Obama gave her.

Indeed, while the Politico article reported that "perhaps surprisingly for folks in the U.S. the queen is no stranger to the iPod, because she already has one," it did not point out, as was reported earlier that night on Fox News' Special Report, that according to the White House, the queen requested a video iPod because she did not yet have one of that type.

From the April 1 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:

BRET BAIER (host): Major, my wife tells me I'm not the best gift giver, but after President Obama gave Prime Minister Brown the set of DVDs that didn't work in Great Britain, we hear that he gave the queen an iPod?

MAJOR GARRETT (Fox News senior White House correspondent): Yes, a video iPod, which we are told by White House staff the queen requested. She has an audio iPod, but not a video iPod.

What's on it? A video of her 2007 trip to the United States -- meaning Washington, D.C., and Virginia. Plus, also, on the audio side of that iPod, composer Richard Rogers, some of his famous American hits. And it's signed. And we're told it went over pretty well with the queen. Bret.

BAIER: OK. I'll add it to my list. Major, thanks.

On April 1, the Drudge Report highlighted a blog entry on the London Telegraph's website, which noted that the queen "already has" an iPod, but not that she requested a new one. Additionally, Fox News website TheFoxNation.com described the iPod story as "[a]nother gift gaffe!" and linked to a post on The Boston Globe's Political Intelligence blog that asserted that Obama should consider giving "something more personal than consumer electronics" next time. The Political Intelligence post also did not mention that the queen had reportedly requested the iPod.*

From the April 1 Politico article:

What do you get for a woman who has everything -- palaces, crown jewels, a nation at her feet? If you're President Barack Obama, and it's the Queen of England, a personalized iPod, of course.

The bestowing of the Royal iPod brought a cringe from one top etiquette expert, who said it confirmed that Obama hasn't figured out presidential gift-giving. Or that they shouldn't all come from Best Buy -- Obama already took some grief for giving British Prime Minister Gordon Brown a boxed set of DVDs when he visited the White House.

"For me, the iPod only works if he has some catchy reason why he gave it as a gift," said Anna Post of the Emily Post Institute. "Otherwise it feels like somebody at the White House pulled the lever and an iPod is what popped up. And if it was just pulled out of the blue, you run the risk of the 'Oh, how nice,' reaction from people which is the polite gloss of, 'What on earth am I going to do with this?' "

The Obamas recovered a bit in Post's eyes by also giving the Queen a rare songbook signed by Richard Rodgers. One of the queen's favorite musicals is Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

Post called that gift "the height of thoughtfulness."

But perhaps surprisingly to folks in the U.S. the queen is no stranger to the iPod, because she already has one.

Back in 2005, the queen, at the suggestion of her son, Prince Andrew, decided to join the iPod revolution and bought a 6GB silver model. Royal watchers say Her Royal Highness likes show tunes and easy listening music, but isn't a fan of rap or pop.

So the new iPod could be an upgrade for the queen. So far the Ipod gift hasn't resulted in the kind of "what was he thinking" response in the British press that came with the DVD gift. Also the White House loaded the iPod with video of her visit to the states in 2007.

*UPDATE: The CBS Evening News also reported on April 1 that "officials say" the queen requested the iPod.

From the April 1 edition of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric:

CHIP REID (CBS News chief White House correspondent): The grueling day began early this morning at 10 Downing Street, where the president and first lady were welcomed by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife, Sarah. At a press conference, Mr. Brown heaped praise on his American guest.

BROWN: Your first 70 days in office have changed America, and you've changed America's relationship with the world.

REID: Despite policy differences with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Sarkozy today expressed confidence in Mr. Obama, who insisted that their differences have been vastly overstated.

OBAMA: I am absolutely confident that this meeting will reflect enormous consensus.

REID: This evening, the president visited Buckingham Palace for a private audience with the queen and husband Prince Philip. Mr. Obama's gift for the queen? A video iPod with footage of her 2007 trip to Washington -- a gift that "officials say she requested.

Network/Outlet
The Politico
Stories/Interests
Propaganda/Noise Machine
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.