Hermes golf bag, statues among Obama gift list
A luxury golf bag, a statue of Abraham Lincoln and an Australian rules football jersey formed part of a treasure trove given to US President Barack Obama in 2011, officials said Thursday.
The list of presents given to Obama by foreign governments or dignitaries released by the US State Department revealed an Aladdin's cave of gifts, ranging from the modest to the lavish.
Several items reflected Obama's fondness for golf.
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy gave Obama an Hermes golf accessory bag valued at $7,750, as well as Baccarat crystal statuettes depicting golfers at play. In all, the Sarkozys gave the Obamas $41,675.71 in gifts that year alone.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's gifts to Obama included a golf putter as well as a training console.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper tapped into Obama's interest in hoops, giving him a basketball signed by members of the Toronto Raptors team.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's gifts included a specially designed red, white and blue Australian rules shirt with "USA Revolution" on the front.
Other gifts to Obama were more formal, including a 48-inch (122-centimeter) bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln by the artist Yuan Xikun given by former Chinese President Hu Jintao, valued at $9,800.
All federal employees in the United States must declare gifts from foreign governments or organizations with gifts to the president or the first family turned over to the National Archives.