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Presidential Gift-Giving An Elaborate Process

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Presidential Gift-Giving An Elaborate Process

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Presidential Gift-Giving An Elaborate Process

Presidential Gift-Giving An Elaborate Process

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When President Barack Obama and first last Michelle Obama met Queen Elizabeth II Wednesday, they gave her an iPod filled with Broadway showtunes. This follows a much talked-about gift of 25 classic American movies on DVD that Obama gave British Prime Minister Gordon Brown last month.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

When President and Ms. Obama met the Queen of England yesterday, they gave her an iPod filled with Broadway show tunes.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

This follows a much talked-about gift of 25 classic American movies on DVD that the President gave to the Prime Minister Gordon Brown last month.

BLOCK: In each case, Mr. Obama followed the long tradition of giving something quintessentially American, show tunes, films - but with a high-tech twist.

NORRIS: As opposed to say Teddy Roosevelt, who liked to present heads of state with things like buffalo horns.

BLOCK: In more recent times, presidents have sometimes presented guests with gifts almost as unusual. President Nixon knew Soviet Leader Leonard Brezhnev loved cars and so he gave him a Cadillac Eldorado.

NORRIS: And a Lincoln Continental.

BLOCK: And a Chevy Monte Carlo.

NORRIS: In 2006, President Bush took Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi, an Elvis fanatic, to Graceland and he presented him with a jukebox filled with the King's hits.

Prime Minister JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI (Japan): Thank you very much for treating me nice. Thank you.

President GEORGE W. BUSH: Now we can go have some barbecue. Thank you.

BLOCK: The whole business of gift giving takes up a lot of time and effort. Some presidents have asked governors to obtain items of Americana, suitable for gift-giving.

NORRIS: But when we contacted the State Department today about who's currently in charge of selecting gifts, they said they're not commenting on the process or protocol of presidential gift-giving.

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