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Gordon Brown went to the White House and all he got were some lousy DVDs

As it turns out, Gordon Brown’s White House visit was even lamer than previously thought. The Daily Mail is reporting that while the enthusiastic British PM clearly put some thought into his diplomatic gifts for Obama, “an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet,” a “first edition of ...

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As it turns out, Gordon Brown's White House visit was even lamer than previously thought. The Daily Mail is reporting that while the enthusiastic British PM clearly put some thought into his diplomatic gifts for Obama, "an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet," a "first edition of the seven-volume biography of Winston Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert," and clothing and books for Obama's daughters, the president's gift for Brown was rather less personal: a set of 25 DVDs of classic American movies. 

As he headed back home from Washington, Gordon Brown must have rummaged through his party bag with disappointment. 

As it turns out, Gordon Brown’s White House visit was even lamer than previously thought. The Daily Mail is reporting that while the enthusiastic British PM clearly put some thought into his diplomatic gifts for Obama, “an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet,” a “first edition of the seven-volume biography of Winston Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert,” and clothing and books for Obama’s daughters, the president’s gift for Brown was rather less personal: a set of 25 DVDs of classic American movies. 

As he headed back home from Washington, Gordon Brown must have rummaged through his party bag with disappointment. 

Mr Brown is not thought to be a film buff, and his reaction to the box set is unknown. But it didn’t really compare to the thoughtful presents he had brought along with him.

The film collection, including such classics as Citizen Kane, Lawrence of Arabia, and Star Wars, was apparently specially assembled by the American Film Institute, but as Ed Morrissey notes, it’s the kind of thing you can buy at a steep discount on Amazon. At least with a gift certificate, Brown could have picked out his own movies.

I wrote on Wednesday that I can understand why Obama might not have wanted to give Brown the full state dinner and Camp David treatment, but surely the White House could have put a little more thought into this.

For what it’s worth, the DVDs would have been the perfect gift for a meeting with Kim Jong-il.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

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