Obama 0 for 2 as he offends two Heads of State in a row
Obama and his staff managed to offend Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, (known simply as Lula), before he even arrived.
Obama arranged a White House meeting during a telephone call to Lula, the two leaders agreeing to meet on 17 March—St. Patrick’s day. Obama also agreed to meet with Ireland’s Taoiseach, (tea-shock, equivalent to Prime Minister), Brian Cowen and formally celebrate—you guessed it—St. Patrick’s Day.
Isn’t there anyone in the White House familiar with the basic uses of a calendar? Hair-dressers don’t make such bumbling goofs, how on Earth does Obama manage to do so?
Lula’s trip was pushed forward from Tuesday because, remarkably, someone in the White House possessed of more than two working neurons, dimly realized that it made somewhat less sense to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a Brazilian than an Irishman—and kudos to that rocket scientist.
Lula’s aides and the Brazilian press interpreted this as a snub, saying the offhand schedule shuffling made Latin America once again look like an afterthought.
Adding yet another insult to the mess, the White House announcement of the Obama-Lula meeting misspelled Lula’s name as "Luis Ignacio" and put "Lula"—a nickname that decades ago became a legal part of the Brazilian leader's name—in quotes.
How will Obama treat the Prime Minister of Ireland? Serve a traditional English breakfast? Pipe him into the White House with a rousing rendition of God Save the Queen? Re-gift Cowen with the Winston Churchill biography the UK prime Minister gave him?
The stumble for statesmanship continues.