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Obama Has Bowed Eight Times as President

by Keith Koffler on June 20, 2012, 7:54 am

President Obama has bowed at least eight times during his presidency, a habit that some see as a metaphor for his approach to foreign policy.

Obama appeared to bow before Mexican President Filipe Calderon at the 2012 G-20 Summit.

At a school in Mumbai in November 2010 he “drew his hands together, as if in prayer, and greeted the children with a slight bow,” according to an account in the New York Times. A week later, while preparing to behold the Japan’s Great Buddha, he bowed to some “man and woman in traditional Japanese robes,” according to the press pool report describing the event.

Below you can see the previous five times Obama has bowed publicly.

To be fair, Obama does have a tendency to lower his head a bit in greeting, whether he’s meeting a world leader or the guy who arrived to install the cable. So we are counting only what appear to be formal bows, beyond the little duck-and-greet move he sometimes makes.

Here is the infamous bow to Saudi King Abdullah, on April 1, 2009 in London. It’s not clear what was more disturbing, Obama’s bow or the subsequent attempt by the White House to deny that he was bowing.

American presidents, who have been put in charge of a democratic nation that specifically broke from royalty, particularly should not bow to kings and queens. Especially ones running repressive societies like Saudi Arabia. But on the very same day he bowed to Abdullah, he also bowed to Queen Elizabeth, chief of the monarchy that was our former Lord and Master.

Not to be deterred by the criticism that followed, Obama bowed later in 2009 to the emperor of Japan.

You’ll notice after his initial bend-over toward Akihito, he erupted into a kind of fit of bowing, throwing off mini-bows at the rate of about one per second.

Obama once also bowed to Nancy Pelosi. Notice how she then repays the favor by nearly yanking him off his feet.

He even bowed to the mayor of Tampa.

Obama at least has learned not to bow to Saudi royals. Two months after his April 2009 prostration, he avoided repeating the mistake. That is, until the Saudi King TRICKED Obama into bowing to him by awarding him some type of gold chain.

No, we’re not counting this one.

We need our presidents to appreciate and be polite to other cultures and leaders. But the president of the United States is the leading political figure in the world. He must command respect. Let others bow to him.

This is an updated version of an earlier article

{ 17 trackbacks }


jerry June 20, 2012 at 8:04 am

I don’t know what’s worse…bowing or being lectured by another world leader.

Just2old June 20, 2012 at 8:10 am

Both signs of weakness.

Just2old June 20, 2012 at 8:09 am

Bowing (also called stooping) is the act of lowering the torso and head as a social gesture in direction to another person or symbol. It is most prominent in Asian cultures but it is also typical of nobility and aristocracy in many countries and distinctively in Europe. Sometimes the gesture may be limited to lowering the head. It is especially prominent in China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Vietnam where it may be executed standing or kneeling. (Wikipedia)
He was raised in Indonesia….maybe that explains it. The act is repulsive from an American president’s point of view. I must admit that while living in Japan for three years, I did my share of bowing as a sign of respect to the person who bowed to me. But then again, I wasn’t the president of the U.S.

Granny Jan June 20, 2012 at 8:21 am

As much as I love the bows my favorites are his arrogant chin up in the air photos. The G20 wouldn’t be complete with on of those:

I just made a video of all his arrogant head up in the air pics with Obama cult soundbytes from the old to new.
……”Obama is sort of God”

Maybe I should make one with a bow then a head tilt….bow etc.

QueenOfScott June 20, 2012 at 11:44 am

He must have spotted an American in the crowd. He bows to other countries and “chin ups” the citizens he is supposed to serve.

SnarkEsq. June 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Good video, Jan. That smug head up in the air look drives me nuts!

A.Men June 20, 2012 at 8:27 am

obowa is an idiot.

Joel June 20, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Obowa…please clarify.
Are you referring to his past culinary tastes as in…”Odingo”
his bending at the waist as in “I apologize for being an American”

RickW June 20, 2012 at 8:36 am

He bows publicly and grabs his ankles privately.

Granny Jan June 20, 2012 at 8:37 am

I forgot that I have an Obama Bow Photo Collection with 18 photos of his bowing.

The cover photo I use (the first one) is a photoshop from

Anonna June 20, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Wow — Granny — what a photo collection to have! Hope you have everything safe on an external drive — your collection of Obamabilia (or is it Obaminationabilila) is going to be priceless to future historians.

Car in June 20, 2012 at 8:50 am

Hopefully he’ll bow to the incoming president next January. That would be cool.

Of course, the irony is that he’s so condescending toward US. Other Americans. His lecturing. His haughty looks. His dismissive nature toward those he disagrees with.

I think THAT is what makes his outward obeisance to foreign leaders so infuriating.

MaryOhSoContrary June 20, 2012 at 8:57 am

I see some of Duh Won’s bows as more narcissistic “looking down upon” gazes that assert HIS superiority over his “subject.” Except for King Abdullah–whose hand he looks like he is going to kiss (but to Barry, Abdullah would be his political and spiritual equal).

Future historians will have great fun picking apart Obotisms–and those gullibly believed he was the ONE they were waiting for.

Granny Jan June 20, 2012 at 9:18 am

Obama drives me bananas when he unctuously puts his hand on people’s shoulder, arm or back. He did it with almost every leader at the G20 even Putin. He tried to guide the Mexican President off stage as if it were his conference. It’s a narcissistic powerplay which is second nature to him.

Jeff1000 June 20, 2012 at 9:30 am

It infuriates me when he calls Americans “folks”. It’s code for serfs or peons.

SnarkEsq. June 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Agreed. The constant use of “folks” by both BHO and Moochelle drives me crazy. Personally, I think they usually are thinking “white folks” when they say it.

MaryOhSoContrary June 20, 2012 at 11:02 am

EXACTLY!!! It’s a hyper control tactic. Even a dog will puts its paw in your lap to show dominance. He knows he is weak, so he uses personal space invasions as a sign of strength.

SnarkEsq. June 20, 2012 at 12:43 pm

I know! That hand on the arm, shoulder, or back is a move that he always does and it’s just an arrogant, condescending power move. he even did it to the Bushes when they were at the White House recently for the unveiling of their portraits.

I can’t wait to see how he acts on two future occasions: First, when President-elect Romney and Ann Romney come to the White House in December to meet with the O’s. And then, Inauguration Day in January 2013.

123435235 July 30, 2014 at 3:20 am

I shall assume you are a Republican, is rich, and watches Fox news…. Also, that you are white, racist, and stupid (simply because you waste your time on this site).

Actually, I assume this entire site, and the authors in it have been bribed/blackmailed by some very rich and powerful oil companies (maybe Exon Mobile?).

Granny Jan June 20, 2012 at 9:34 am

Did you know that the Classless President chewed gum (I don’t care if it was Nicotine gum) during the entire G20 photoshop?

D.V. June 20, 2012 at 9:56 am

The deep bows are a problem, the mild head lowering could be just respectful, however, the American president should be polite , but not expressing penitence before one and all.

Nina Murphy June 20, 2012 at 10:18 am

In arrogant, chin -in- the- air, shots, he looks exactly like a camel. Snotty.

Susan June 20, 2012 at 10:19 am

What more can we expect from a man who knows nothing about American exceptionalism…

Dietrich June 20, 2012 at 10:25 am

If there is anyone to whom Pres. Obama should bow it is the President and People of Mexico. FAST and FURIOUS guns have been used ot murder how many Mexican citizens? 200 and counting, I believe. Not to forget that Mexico’s drug violence is fueled by our drug demand. Obama should be on his knees before Mexico.

Susan June 20, 2012 at 10:45 am

Another member of the blame America first crowd.

Anonna June 20, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Mexico’s drug violence is fueled by Mexicans’ willingness to sell illegal drugs.

MaryOhSoContrary June 20, 2012 at 10:58 am

And so it begins…

Dear Leader invokes EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE (he’s got WithHolder’s back!!!) in Fast and Furious.

Watergate was about an office break in cover up. Fast and Furious is about the DEATH of US Border Patrol Agent Randall Terry AND about TWO HUNDRED MEXICAN nationals.

Tricky Buh-Rock?

Susan June 20, 2012 at 11:58 am

How can he claim Executive Privilege when he asserts he was never informed about Fast and Furious before it went public?

MarjoJimbo June 20, 2012 at 10:58 am

It must be a cultural thing he learned as he wasn’t raised as an American.

Anonna June 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm

This is how the re-makers of America think.

“Yeah, we had a revolution so that ordinary people did not bend the knee or bow to ‘royal superiors. Our leaders do not bow — in order to underline the message at every meeting with power. But — yawn — but that is so YESTERDAY, so ‘dead white men,’ so unhip.

“We’ll CHOOSE to bow to royalty, etc. They’ll get that it’s a CHOICE and it means that we LIKE them and are EAGER to pretend to be inferiors because it might make them like us. CONFORMITY to cultural expressions of inferiority shows our INDEPENDENCE to CHOOSE. It will all be so cool and understated and implied in the textual activity of tipping head to ground and ass to air.”

Of course, this suggests that the recipients of the bow understand the double message intended by the bow-ers — which I bet never occurs. They are simply pleased to see an American President who behaves as an inferior should.

creeper June 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Is it any wonder the rest of the world views him as a laughingstock?

How far we have fallen.

langley spook June 20, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Mr. Koffler (of the “WH press corps”),

Why has NO ONE ever asked why Obama “bows” to foreign leaders…?
Seems like a fair ‘question’ to ask the Obama White House.

zenga June 20, 2012 at 3:00 pm

well, you can get the boy out of the shoe shine stand, but you can’t get the shoe shine stand out of the boy (or something like that).

LivnLaVidaBroka June 20, 2012 at 7:41 pm

I wish he’d bow OUT.

Keith July 6, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Yeah, dammit, how dare our leader show any sort of respect to other cultures and other world leaders, they should all kneel and kiss his boots for just showing up, right? U-S-A, U-S-A!

Come on guys, he’s simply showing basic respect to other human beings, also, being a tall person, he’s making communication easier by lowering his head to them.

Keith July 6, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Also Putin doesn’t bow because he’s a terrifying psychopath, I wouldn’t have thought americans would really be choosing a russian as a role model… always ready to be surprised however.

Capwhan September 11, 2012 at 12:40 am

Let’s hope he bows his way out of office.

Mickie October 22, 2012 at 10:05 pm

The only person the President of the USA should ever bow to is Jesus Christ, our Savior! — not to other leaders around the world. All you did was sent the message that the US is not as strong as it once was. You needed to stand up and make the citizens proud of you — not put us in debt forever!

MARTIN December 8, 2012 at 6:13 am

Obama is not the recognized leader of the world, first the world is bigger than Earth, second Obama is the President of the United states of America, point. He has to accept the other cultures like all people. Looking at him bow in front of muslim kings and others elders people show that he has been grown up like a muslim that is all. And he can’t go against his education.

MARTIN December 8, 2012 at 6:18 am

Keith is right too being a tall person etc…..
But i know a lot of muslim person who bow a little whent they shake hands, bow automatically in front of a elder person, there is a grand respect to the oldest. The contrary of our occidental society where our own children are not respectful towards us and put his eldest in retired houses very easily. When most of muslims keep them until the end. September 17, 2013 at 1:54 pm

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Rog November 3, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Obama cant distinguish between himself and the role of statesmen. He is so immersed in his own World he cant see the importance of protocol. He may have been elected by dumb America but the other heads of state didnt chose him. With said he should stick with protocol and not on whatever he wants to do at the moment. Hes so defiant.

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