The senator left his briefing books behind for a rare instance of mingling with his journalism posse at a Berlin restaurant as he sipped a rare “very dry” martini with olives. (This was either because he wanted to charm the press, which, contrary to popular imagination, is not universally enchanted with him, or because he could not get ESPN in his hotel room.)
The Obamanauts were so elated that they didn’t even seem to mind the caricature of Obama, ears sticking out, that had been drawn on the round We-Are-The-World Obama logo in the press section. The cartoon candidate demanded: “Worship me.”
I asked him what presents he takes home to his daughters. “Anytime I make a stop, Sasha gets snow globes and Malia gets key chains,” he said. “Somebody is assigned to that.”
“You have a snow globe aide?” I marveled.
He also admitted that he didn’t know exactly what was in those blue boxes with ribbons that his body man, Reggie Love, was toting for world leaders.
“I was not well organized enough to personally think of what presents to give these guys,” Obama said. “Hopefully, should I end up being president, I can put my touch on the present thing. But I didn’t even know it was a custom to give presents other than state visits.”
I said he could be forgiven for not knowing the customs of a trip that had never taken place before â€” a mere presumptive nominee of one party being feted like a president. Or, given W.’s repellant effect on Old Europe and Obama’s pheromone effect, better than a president.