You'd think that the gift of wrong-format DVDs to Tony Blair, and an iPod to the Queen (she already had one) would have made Obama a shoo-in for the first place ribbon in the competitive sport of terrible formal gift giving.
But the Pope has topped Obama. No, he didn't offer the U.S. president an iPod full of those tiresome Gregorian chants. Instead, Pope Benedict slipped Obama a recent (potentially anti-capitalist) encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), which was discussed at length by Tim Cavanaugh here. He also handed off a Vatican-produced bioethics booklet called Dignitas Personae (The Dignity of a Person).
Because nothing says "respectful partnership" like handing another world leader copies of your instructions to your own followers. Better still if the pamphlets are about cheerful, non-controversial subjects like Catholics' obligations to support world government and stop killing and/or designing their babies.
Obama, who was going to the airport from the Vatican, joked to the pope when he gave him the two documents: "I'll have something to read on the plane."
For the pic, Allahpundit twitters a caption suggestion: "The infallible vessel of God's will on Earth. Also, the Pope." Can you do better, Hit&Run commenters?