The List November 2004

Presidential Gifts

U.S. elected officials can't accept significant presents, as everyone knows, and such presents are particularly frowned on when foreign nationals are involved. But sometimes, when "non-acceptance would cause embarrassment to donor and U.S. government," the President of the United States just can't say no. Which is why George W. Bush, his family, and his senior staff have ended up the proud owners of the following gifts (among many, many others), as catalogued in a State Department registry.

  • Original watercolor portraits of the forty-three Presidents of the United States, bound in a velvet book studded with precious gems, held in a wooden presentation case with an amber mosaic of the United States on the lid, from His Excellency Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation (value: $45,000)
  • Approximately 300 pounds of lamb, from His Excellency the President of the Argentine Nation and Mrs. Kirchner (value: $1,500)
  • 3.4 ounces of Christian Dior "Higher" after-shave lotion, 3.4 ounces of eau de toilette, and a 5.2-ounce bar of soap, from His Excellency Jacques Chirac, President of the French Republic (value: $133)
  • Two 13" sheathed daggers in a gold-and-silver inlaid design with ivory handles and gold chains, one presented to Chief of Staff Andrew Card and one to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, from His Royal Highness Abdallah bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (value: $1,500 each)
  • A 33" alabaster sculpture of Paris and Helen titled The Flight From Carthage, from his Excellency Silvio Berlusconi, President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic (value: $4,500)
  • Desktop models of Marine One and the Royal British helicopters, from His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, Duke of York (value: $500)
  • A 41" x 60" mohair wall hanging depicting a village scene with children, from the First Lady of the Republic of Botswana, Mrs. Barbara Mogae (value: $225)
  • A 23-ounce Lady McDuffies Gourmet Lemon Cream Cheese Cake, from His Majesty Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei (value: $41)
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