France Gave Obama Some Ridiculously Luxe Presents

Like: Hermes golf accessory bag, Dior bathrobes
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2013 11:17 AM CDT
France Gave Obama Some Ridiculously Luxe Presents
Another gift: Jurassic flower candle by Frederic Malle.   (AP Photo/Lionel Bonaventure, Pool)

It's not that surprising to hear that President Obama is bestowed with plenty of gifts from other global leaders. What may be surprising is that the "stuff is bonkers," in Joe Coscarelli's telling for the Daily Intelligencer. The Federal Register yesterday issued a pdf cataloging what Obama received in 2011 (he can't keep the goodies, but the National Archives and Records Administration hangs on to them on his behalf; the items could end up in his presidential library). Both the Daily Intelligencer and Politico declare Nicolas Sarkozy and wife Carla Bruni that most unusual (and generous) gift givers. Among their presents:

  • Large, black Hermes golf accessory bag (est. value: $7,750)
  • Lacoste white classic men's polo shirt (a limited-edition, no less)
  • 14.35-inch-tall blue-gray glass sculpture of Bucephalus, Alexander the Great's horse (just weird)
  • Hermes cotton terrycloth beach towel (printed with umbrellas and towels beach scene)
  • Hermes golf travel bag (given seven months after the previous golf-theme gift)
  • Reusable grocery/tote bag, orange with a large white dandelion on the side (don't worry; this item came as part of a more than $6,000 batch of gifts that included his and hers Dior bathrobes)
Grand total: about $41,000. You can page through all the presents here. Quirky side note: The report has to list the "circumstances justifying acceptance" alongside every gift. The most common reason given: "Non-acceptance would cause embarrassment to donor and US government." Click to read about the cheapest gift Obama was given in 2010. (More Barack Obama stories.)

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