Culture and kitsch for a President

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The Independent US

Iraq may be going to hell in a handcart, and George Bush's approval ratings likewise. But there are consolations. A US president is bombarded with presents from other leaders.

In 2005, they ranged from a royal-designed, off-road motorbike, to golfing kit and tango CDs from the President of Argentina. Other gifts include six Marinella silk ties and gold Omega watch worth $4,000 (£2,130) from the former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, and a $940 Hermes wool blanket, courtesy of President Jacques Chirac.

The Prince of Wales presented Mr Bush with a four-volume collection of essays by Winston Churchill, "embossed in gold with Prince of Wales plumes"( $1,832 or £980). The off-road motorbike ($4,500 and "developed by the King Abdullah Design and Development Bureau") was a gift from the Jordanian monarch.

Alas, by law, any gift worth more than $305 goes into government "courtesy storage". They will eventually go on show in Mr Bush's Presidential Library.

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