Presidential Presents

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Prince Charles’s trip to the District, which included a short visit with President Obama at the White House.

This week Obama was in England returning the favor, and perhaps redeeming himself for some previous missteps in the diplomatic dance of presidential gift-giving.

Obama's second visit with the Queen
The Obamas had a second chance at royal gift-giving (Photo: Chris Jackson/AP)

Obama was criticized for his first gift to the Queen in 2009 – an iPod loaded with music, photos, and video of Her Majesty’s visit to D.C. and Virginia in 2007.

And let’s not even talk about the gift he gave to former Prime Minister Gordon Brown a few months earlier…

This time, his present had much more sentimental and historic significance.

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Presidential Gridlock

This morning there was gridlock in the District.

No, not the political wrangling between a Democratic president and a newly Republican Congress.

It was the traffic kind.  The kind that begins with a capital “O.”

I was running out the door a little late (a rare occurrence), and I spotted a bus at the end of my street, turning down Connecticut Ave. This wasn’t just any bus – it was a 43.

For those who don’t live in the District, that’s the express bus that runs under Dupont Circle, and deposits me in front of my office in less than 4 minutes, like some sort of cosmic wormhole.

It appeared to be momentarily stopped at the corner, so I jogged to the end of my street and knocked on the door. The bus driver let me in, but then declared that we wouldn’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

I looked through the windshield, and saw a line of cars and buses ahead of us, all frozen in place.

Presidential gridlock in the District.

Then I noticed the ubiquitous D.C. police cars blocking traffic, and the motorcycle motorcade parked and at the ready.

“It’s Obama,” she said.

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