Etiquette lessons for the President and First Lady

April 2, 2009

Who is responsible for teaching this?

The party planner social secretary?

Someone needs to school them on the proper behavior on the world stage, in front world leaders who have their own customs and protocols. Body language is the universal form of communication and both of them seem to have a complete lack of awareness of their own.

Look past the shallow raves about the first black president and fashion conscious First Lady and truly dissect their performance. Study the footage and see what needs to be improved upon. Make the First Lady sip tea in the White House with ambassadors and their wives so she can learn firsthand the protocol and see how she is received on her own turf.

Their coming out – when viewed through non-obamerized lenses –  reveals a stunning lack of etiquette. The First Lady rubbing the Queen’s back. A reciprocal touch seemed fine but not the commoner backrubbing. The Queen physically moved away and gave the First Lady a rather remarkable dagger of a stare. Look at the footage (0:35).

And then there’s barry looking totally lost with the heads of states not under the obamessiah spell. When greeting them formally, on their level, he looked extremely uncomfortable and robotic. Doubters – can’t help you on this. The body language doesn’t lie. Watch the footage and compare it with videos of Mr Bill. Here barry has same smile for every photo.

They got off to a rocky start with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his family – barry a short hurried meeting – not the usual two flag photo op. The Browns gave thoughtful, personal gifts and Michelle handed out plastic helicopters from the White House gift shop and barry, DVD’s. She could at least have given them a one of barry’s Air Force One/Marine One jackets with the patches that he thinks are so cool. It would have shown she put some thought into it, as she would have have had to inquire about their sizes – like Mrs Brown did in getting Malia and Sasha beautiful dresses.

Giving the cheap plastic toys was like Dick Chaney wearing a hunting parka – coarse and disrespectful.

And the ipod? Yes, it’s an American product but were is it manufactured?

Again, there is no personal touch – even with what “he” uploaded…his own speeches.

And barry’s disdain for Churchill? Why did he return Churchill’s bust? Even if he did not want it in the Oval Office – he should have placed it somewhere else. It was another example of personal arrogance without regard for the message it sends as POTUS.

Do you think the British ambassador is ever going to forget? And then there’s the fact that it was a gesture of solidarity after 911.

What does barry think diplomacy entails? Words?

Does he think his actions are exempt?

Did he swallow his pride and apologize to the Indian correspondent?

Did he pick only “foreigners” in his press conference today?

No. And one just so happened to be from Chicago. What are the odds?

In front of the world, barry became a friend of England just to steal the attention from the host country. It was like barry taking questions from the audience without Sarkozy’s direction.

Media – do your job an hold barry and the First Lady to the standards of the other presidents. It’s time to stop with the free passes. Your job is to keep him honest and expose their breeches of etiquette.

Blueblood Richard Wolffe – where is your critique? Right. Like that is going to ever happen. It would affect book sales.

Please – someone – teach them etiquette.

Teach Michelle to smile politely and not with her teeth barred – to clap without her hands covering her face – to stand for photos not full on with her feet splayed. Look at the photos of Michelle with the First Lady of Frace and take special note of Bruni’s feet. It’s subtle but it softens her entire look.

Michelle has to be extra graceful because her height exaggerates the miscues and it intimidates the smaller world leaders, whether or not it is intended, whether or not they are aware of it. It is her job to always be mindful of it, such as being photographed sitting, rather than standing.

And please stop the comparisons to Jackie O. She had a natural grace that Michelle will never achieve and can only hope to approach. It is an direct insult to the manner in which First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy comported herself – always with class – even with the blood of her assassinated husband on her clothing.

Michelle needs to learn the basics of First Lady etiquette – how to soften her body and her gestures. She tends to lean forward with an open mouth. Watch how she grabs the First Lady of France by the upper arms and pulls her forward so she could do that double peck. Even if they are the best of friends and do this in their private meetings – in public and in the photo ops, she needs to dampen it. The grabbing was a masculine movement. Similar gestures and movements on the stump were why folks thought she was an angry woman.

One can be assertive and strong without displays of testosterone. No one does it better than the woman Michelle Obama repeatedly bashed about “getting her house in order”. The woman Michelle said went out of her way to help prepare her to be first lady, the woman who gave her advice about keeping her children out of the spotlight. And she did so while her husband was too egomaniacal to call Mr Bill.

It’s clear he needed Mr Bill’s advice for that last speech to the nation and he could certainly use it now – perfectly clear after his press conference arrogance. It disgusts me to think of what Michelle and barry said themselves of Secretary Clinton – in addition to what they allowed their camp to say – but they have had no problem asking her for help. barry is still allowing the black community to believe the Clintons are racists.

How can anyone believe this man is honorable in any fashion?

After ridiculing her sipping tea with ambassadors – he appointed the most intelligent, well-read and well-prepared politician on the planet to carry out “his” foreign policy.

What Cabinet positions would barry have qualified for? Could he have become Secretary of State? Absolutely not. Ambassador to the UN would suit him perfectly – campaigning without governing, which sums up his presidency thus far.

The present President and First Lady could learn from watching the previous President and First Lady interacting with world leaders. They are still the two most high profile Americans outside the US – even with barry. And to the continued amazement of the US press, they are universally well-respected around the globe and it is because they know how to respect the globe. Something barry doesn’t seem to think he needs to do. The world begins and ends in his own mind.  Secretary Clinton is a powerful force because she possesses the bearing and command of a President and the grace and etiquette of a First Lady.

barry and Michell have neither. And somebody better teach them. Get them an English nanny if you have to.

***
POTUS: “I’m gonna call one foreigner”
Etiquette lessons for the President and First Lady
barry irreparably disgraced The American People
Gibbs’ blatant lie about barry’s groveling

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