Gordon Brown went to the White House and all he got were some lousy DVDs

As it turns out, Gordon Brown's White House visit was even lamer than previously thought. The Daily Mail is reporting that while the enthusiastic British PM clearly put some thought into his diplomatic gifts for Obama, "an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet," a "first edition of the seven-volume biography of Winston Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert," and clothing and books for Obama's daughters, the president's gift for Brown was rather less personal: a set of 25 DVDs of classic American movies. 

As he headed back home from Washington, Gordon Brown must have rummaged through his party bag with disappointment. 

Mr Brown is not thought to be a film buff, and his reaction to the box set is unknown. But it didn't really compare to the thoughtful presents he had brought along with him.

The film collection, including such classics as Citizen Kane, Lawrence of Arabia, and Star Wars, was apparently specially assembled by the American Film Institute, but as Ed Morrissey notes, it's the kind of thing you can buy at a steep discount on Amazon. At least with a gift certificate, Brown could have picked out his own movies.

I wrote on Wednesday that I can understand why Obama might not have wanted to give Brown the full state dinner and Camp David treatment, but surely the White House could have put a little more thought into this.

For what it's worth, the DVDs would have been the perfect gift for a meeting with Kim Jong-il.


Morning Brief: Clinton to meet Lavrov

Top Story

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attempt to "press the reset button" on U.S.-Russian relations when she meets her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Brussels. Items on the agenda include nuclear proliferation and energy as well as American missile defense plans, on which President Barack Obama recently signaled a willingness to compromise in exchange for Russian cooperation on Iran.

Russia's foreign ministry says they are awaiting the talks with "cautious optimism." In an interview with the BBC, Clinton vowed to "seek areas of cooperation" but said that improved U.S.-Russian relations would not affect U.S. support for NATO allies.

Clinton also announced an overture to an even more hostile rival on Thursday when she revealed that Iran had been invited to participate in an upcoming summit on Afghanistan. 


Ukrainian investigators were thwarted in their attempt to raid the offices of state energy company Naftogaz by supporters of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

U.S. President Barack Obama will make his first trip abroad to Europe at the end of the month. He will visit England, France, Germany and the Czech Republic.

A war between drug gangs has disturbed the peace in Copenhagen, one of the world's safest cities.

Middle East

Amnesty International condemned Israel's destruction of Palestinian property during the invasion of Gaza as a violation of international law.

Iran has promised to free imprisoned American journalist Roxana Saberi soon.

Britain is reestablishing diplomatic contact with the political wing of Hezbollah.


The United Nations has condemned Sudanese President Omar al Bashir's decision to expel aid groups in retaliation for his indictment by the ICC.

Two prominent Kenyan human rights activists were murdered in Nairobi on Thursday night.

Mauritania is expelling the staff of Israel's embassy in protest of the invasion of Gaza.


The U.S. is finalizing a deal to use Tajikistan for the transport of cargo into Afghanistan.

An Indian CEO made the winning bid in a controversial auction of Mahatma Gandhi's personal items. 

South Korean airlines were forced to reroute flights after North Korea declared it could not guarantee their safety.


Another top Cuban official has been ousted in Raul Castro's leadership shakeup.

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez nationalized a U.S.-owned rice mill.

The Colombian supreme court has recently blocked the extradition to the U.S. of several FARC guerillas involved in the kidnapping of American citizens.

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