Humorless Obama Breaks Tradition, Nixes APEX “Silly Shirts” Photo
Wearing traditional ao dais, U.S. President George W. Bush, top row left, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, Chinese President Hu Jintao, bottom row left, and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet wave during a group photo with leaders of the APEC summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2006. (LA Times)
This year Obama shelved the annual “silly shirts” tradition.
He didn’t even give his guests the traditional Hawaiian lei for the photo.
The LA Times reported:
For most of the last two decades, world leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit would don exotic garb chosen by the hosts. The costumes made for a light moment at the picture-taking session — sober leaders in bomber jackets or pajama-style robes.
This year’s summit, hosted by Obama in his native Hawaii, broke with tradition. As the leaders assembled for the photo, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard was overheard talking about grass skirts; Obama, coconut bras.
“We are ending that tradition,” Obama told his foreign counterparts.
Later in the day, Obama gave a news conference and was asked about his decision to end the “dress-up” tradition launched by President Clinton.
Given the location, a reporter asked, why no aloha shirts and grass skirts?
“I got rid of the Hawaiian shirts because I had looked at pictures of some of the previous APEC meetings and some of the garb that had appeared previously, and I thought this may be a tradition that we might want to break.”
What a stick in the mud.