Obama’s Gifts: Bicycle, Sword, Liquor and Bathrobes
By Faith Karimi, CNN
(CNN) — When President Barack Obama meets with other world leaders, they usually swap gifts. And these are much higher-end than your typical office secret Santa exchange.
Presidents, kings and prime ministers showered Obama and his family with a wide assortment of gifts, including a bamboo bicycle, masks, liquor and a small sword.
And one — British Prime Minister David Cameron — even bestowed Bo, the first dog, with a bone-shaped chew toy adorned with a UK flag.
The United States released a detailed list of gifts to the White House and other government officials in 2011, the latest year available.
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni, were among the biggest spenders, dishing out gifts of all sorts, including luxury bags, polo shirts and chocolates.
The Sarkozys bestowed Obama a black Hermes golf accessory bag estimated at $7,750, a Louis Vuitton bag worth $2,300 and crystal table lamps for first lady Michelle Obama.
They also gave the Obamas a reusable grocery bag emblazoned with a dandelion, and his-and-hers Dior bathrobes.
The White House did not keep the gifts, but it did not return them either. As required by law, the swag was hauled to the National Archives and Records Administration.
The General Services Administration currently mandates that any gift over $350 be turned over to the government.
“Non-acceptance would cause embarrassment to donor and U.S. government,” the report said in justifying its decision to send them to the national archives, rather than refuse them.
The gift list disclosed Friday includes rugs from Pakistani and Afghan leaders, and flavored liquor from the Polish president.
From Down Under came a white 2GB iPod shuffle, courtesy of the Australian prime minister. Our neighbors to the north gave a basketball signed by the 2010-11 Toronto Raptors NBA team, courtesy of Prime Minster Stephen Harper.
Then there were the pricey art gifts. A print photograph by artist Vik Muniz from a Brazilian governor. Price tag? $40,000.
That gift did not go to the national archives. It was loaned to an unnamed museum for a public exhibit, the statement said.
A Daum blue mask sculpture from the Gabonese president valued at $52,695 was sent to the national archives.
Some gifts were more official, including a bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln given by the Chinese president.
And the list goes on and on.
But the president retained one gift — a book from the Mongolian president titled “Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World” by Jack Weatherford.
Obama is not the only leader of the free world to receive gifts.
While in office, President George W. Bush was lavished with tokens as well, according to 2009 government records. Gifts to him included a silver and gold dagger with a belt and case from Saudi Arabia.
One of his main gifters?
CNN’s Jason Moon contributed to this report