Were The Gifts Obama Gave The Pope Better Than The Gifts He Gave The Queen?

The Obamas are in Europe this week for the G-8 summit, and while in Italy, the president met Pope Benedict for the first time. As is custom for visiting world leaders, the Pope and the American prez exchanged presents.

This reminds us of the time that Obama brought presents when he and the First Lady met the Queen of England. That got us wondering: were the gifts Obama gave the head of the Catholic Church better than the gifts he gave the head of the British monarchy?

Let’s find out!In one corner, we have the Obamas in Italy: According to Politico, Obama gave the Pope a stole “that had been placed on the remains of St. John Neumann, a 19th-century Redemptorist and the first male naturalized citizen to become a saint.” (Wow, where does a president get an artifact like that?) (In exchange, the Pope generously gave Obama a gift in return: a mosaic of St. Peter’s square, an autographed book, and a pontifical medal.)

In the other, we have the Obama in the UK: When the Obama met Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace back in April, according to the Wall Street Journal, she received an iPod downloaded with footage of her 2007 state visit to the U.S. (The Queen gave the Obama a framed photo of her and her husband.)

This one’s easy: the saintly stole Obama gave the Pope is a much better gift than an iPod. However! The Queen received one precious gift that Pope Benedict did not: a hug from Michelle Obama. [Politico, Wall Street Journal]