It was the bow seen around the world.
Last week, President Obama greeted King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia with what appeared to be a bow, outraging conservatives who say the leader of the free world has no business bending over to foreigners. But the White House denies that the president bowed.
A video of the greeting shows Obama significantly stooping before the 84-year-old monarch. The alleged bow left a bitter taste with many conservatives.
“By bending over to show greater respect to Islam, the U.S. president belittled the power and independence of the United States,” the Washington Times said in an editorial.
“Such an act is a traditional obeisance befitting a king’s subjects, not his peer.”
State department protocol prohibits presidents from bowing to any one. But other presidents have flirted with breaking it. President Clinton apparently semi-bowed to Japan’s Emperor Akihito but the White House said it was a slight tilt. And while President Bush never bowed to King Abdullah, he famously held hands with him in 2005 while walking on his ranch in Texas. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs addressed the issue Thursday when he denied that the president bowed.
“I think he bent over with both hands to shake his hand,” Gibbs said before asking why the incident was being raised a week after it happened.When a reporter said people were still discussing the incident, Gibbs used his signature sarcasm to dismiss the claim. “I can only imagine it is of great cause and concern for many people struggling with the economy,” he said