A photo of President Obama apparently bowing in front of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is stirring a royal-size controversy.
The photo and a video were largely ignored by mainstream media outlets but created outrage in some quarters.
“Such an act is a traditional obeisance befitting a king's subjects, not his peer. There is no precedent for U.S. presidents bowing to Saudi or any other royals,” said the conservative Washington Times.
An Obama aide speaking anonymously denied that the president was bowing.
“It wasn’t a bow. He grasped his hand with two hands, and he’s taller than King Abdullah,” the aide was quoted as saying by Politco.com Wednesday.
That explanation was “absurd,” the conservative Weekly Standard said. And the caption attached to the Getty Images photo said the president was bowing.
The setting was world leaders mingling before their official photo at the G-20 economic summit in London on April 1.
The heads of state were being photographed with Queen Elizabeth II — to whom Obama did not bow, online commenters said.
Some on the Hot Air Web site had fun with the whole affair, offering:
— “That is how they do it in Chicago . . .”
— “He wasn’t bowing . . . he was ducking in case someone threw a shoe.”