Obama’s Days of Giving Terrible Gifts to British Leaders Are Behind Him

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Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

The Special Relationship almost didn't survive President Obama's gift to then–Prime Minister Gordon Brown last year: a bunch of DVDs that didn't even work in his DVD player. His present to the Queen, an iPod containing video of her 2007 trip to the United States and a songbook signed by composer Richard Rodgers, was definitely an improvement, although not everyone really appreciated Obama's decision to load the iPod with his own speeches.

But this week, President Obama finally gave a British leader a gift above reproach after Prime Minister David Cameron was sent packing with a signed lithograph by renowned American Pop artist Ed Ruscha, Column With Speed Lines. Sure, it seemed like they, or whoever actually buys these gifts, agreed beforehand to exchange pieces of art — Obama received Twenty First Century City by graffiti artist Ben Eine — but it's probably worth sacrificing the fun of a surprise if it'll prevent another international incident.

President Obama and Britain's Prime Minister Cameron in artful gift exchange [Reliable Source/WP]