NPR logo Obama Unbowed By King Abdullah This Time

Obama Unbowed By King Abdullah This Time

When President Barack Obama first met Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz al Saud as the U.S. head-of-state earlier this year in London, he bowed to the Protector of the Two Holy Places, creating a stir, especially among conservatives who held that American presidents bow to no foreign head of states.

The White House denied that Obama had bowed, asking reporters to believe Press Secretary Robert Gibbs instead of their own lying eyes.

Upon meeting the king today however, there was no bow. According to Fox News's White House blog called Row 4, Seat 2 after its assigned seat in the Brady Press Briefing Room, the greeting was more business-like:

President Obama arrived in the Saudi capital Wednesday afternoon and was greeted King Abdullah with a hand shake and a nod of the head, forgoing the bow that Mr. Obama controversially gave the King back in April at their first meeting.

Neither did the King hold Mr. Obama's hand, as he did with former President George W. Bush during the King's visit to Mr. Bush's Texas ranch.

Despite the 108 degree temperature in Riyadh, the 84 year old king awaited Mr. Obama on the tarmac - a show of hospitality reserved for special guests. As the two men greeted, a 21 gun salute went off in the vicinity. And after a review of the troops, the two men greeted each others' delegations in a gazebo protecting them from the sun's strong rays, but then proceeded inside the airport terminal to share a cup of Arabian coffee.