The first meeting of Bush and Obama includes hand sanitizer, advice, and Allen Keys

An excerpt from The Audacity of Hope, where Obama tells of his first meeting with President George W. Bush.

“Obama!” he said, shaking my hand. “Come here and meet Laura. Laura, you remember Obama. We saw him on TV during election night. Beautiful family. And that wife of yours – that’s one impressive lady.”

“We both got better than we deserve, Mr. President,” I said, shaking the First Lady’s hand and hoping that I’d wiped any crumbs off my face.

The president turned to an aide nearby, who squirted a big dollop of hand sanitizer in the president’s hand.

“Want some?” the president asked. “Good stuff. Keeps you from getting colds.” Not wanting to seem unhygienic, I took a squirt.

“Come over here for a second,” he said, leading me off to one side of the room.

“You know,” he said quietly, “I hope you don’t mind me giving you a piece of advice.”

“Not at all, Mr. President.” He nodded. “You’ve got a bright future,” he said. “Very bright. But I’ve been in this town a while and, let me tell you, it can be tough. When you get a lot of attention like you’ve been getting, people start gunnin’ for ya. And it won’t necessarily just be coming from my side, you understand. From yours, too. Everybody’ll be waiting for you to slip. Know what I mean? So watch yourself.”

“Thanks for the advice, Mr. President.”

“All right. I gotta get going. You know, me and you got something in common.”

“What’s that?” “We both had to debate Alan Keyes. That guy’s a piece of work, isn’t he?”

I laughed, and as we walked to the door I told him a few stories from the campaign.

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2 Responses to The first meeting of Bush and Obama includes hand sanitizer, advice, and Allen Keys

  1. dan says:

    At first I thought this was a joke: the President shakes Obama’s hand and then immediately washes it.

    Giving President Bush his due, it makes sense to wash his hands repeatedly given the number of hands he comes in contact with throughouut the day; the nature of contagious diseases; and the need to stay healthy.

    But on the other hand its difficult not to feel slighted if someone shakes your hand and then IMMEDIATELY washes his hands to remove all of your presumed germs.

  2. David says:

    I have read a couple of articles that referenced this and they all seemed to indicate that this is the norm now. Throughout the campaign (including primaries) each of the candidates had their official disenfector by their side. Makes sense since missing a day or two of the campaign due to the flu would make you look weak.

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