In his first major trip to the Middle East since taking the oath of office, President Barack Obama today presented Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah with a 2009 Chevy Malibu.
While it is highly unorthodox for a U.S. president to present a foreign leader with a midsized automobile, Mr. Obama was upbeat during the presentation, telling the Saudi monarch, "If you like it, there's plenty more where that came from."
Mr. Obama touted the Malibu's "fantastic gas mileage," adding, "not that you'd have any trouble getting gas around here."
White House sources said that they hoped Mr. Obama's goodwill gesture would also serve to promote the American auto industry, or as one source put it, "If King Abdullah likes the Malibu, maybe he'll give one to each of his wives. That'll help make room for the 2010's."
But the Saudi king seemed to be skeptical of the gift, hesitating a moment as Mr. Obama handed him the keys.
"Is it going to be hard to get parts for this?" he asked.
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