A report on President Obama’s overseas trip devolved into swag talk on CBS News’s The Early Show this morning:
BILL PLANTE (in London): Now, of course, no meeting like this would be complete without a gift bag. [Holds aloft a plastic-looking tote with “London” written all over it]. Not quite as tacky as ours, but here we have some of the swag here, it’s very similar to what [the world leaders] are getting. These are tough times, but this is a $110 tie from Savile Row. An Irish linen tea towel.
What do you think?
REIDSMITH (in New York): Very good.
PLANTE: How about a box of chocolates? Got to have that. And a $60 scented designer candle. What do you think?
MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ (in New York): We like it. Bill, what do the reporters get?
PLANTE: You know, we haven’t gotten anything yet. I’m getting a little miffed. We usually get swag bags at these things, too, but I haven’t seen it yet.
SMITH: I still have some really cheap, bad cuff links from a…G-7…that’s how many years ago?
RODRIGUEZ: We’re up to [G]20.
PLANTE: A lot of plastic pens, Harry. A lot of plastic pens with things written on them…
RODRIGUEZ: Bill, you get to travel to Europe. That’s pretty good.
UPDATE: Also from CBS News:
It may be that Europeans were bound to like whomever followed President Bush, but French journalist Agnes Poirier agrees that Michelle and her husband have a certain je nais sais quoi.
“Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are a very alluring and very sophisticated couple and that plays well with the French,” Poirier says. “They like seeing sophistication at the helm of power.”
UPDATE II: I knew I shouldn’t have looked to see how the Obamas’ overseas trip was handled on the fourth hour of NBC’s Today Show. But, I did. And:
KATHIE LEE GIFFORD: Imagine if you were our first lady, Michelle Obama. Going on your very first European trip.
HODA KOTB. This is a big deal.
GIFFORD: And all eyes are upon you and you have to live up to the standard of Jackie Kennedy.
KOTB: There’s a lot of pressure.
GIFFORD: Enormous pressure.
KOTB: And everyone wants to know, is she going to wear sleeves or no sleeves? That’s the issue.
GIFFORD (sleeveless): I don’t know that it’s that important.
KOTB: It’s interesting! Come on, look how cute her outfit is.
GIFFORD: We may not have a world in a month, and we’re worried about her sleeves?
KOTB: It’s called a distraction from reality.
GIFFORD: Oh, this is a distraction.
KOTB: We’ve read in certain news reports that she’s wearing a J. Crew skirt. She’s kind of mixing and matching, because J. Crew’s one of her favorite designers.
GIFFORD: She wears some expensive, beautiful things as well.
KOTB: Yeah. It will be interesting to see how she compares with the other first ladies. Because you can’t help, two women sitting next to each other, people comparing them.
Liz Cox Barrett is a freelance writer and graphic designer in Kalispell, Montana. She worked as a newspaper journalist in Denver and Kalispell for 20 years.