[Ed. – So by now you probably know that Obama chewed gum during the D-Day ceremony, and that he and Putin ignored each other for much of the day, reportedly consenting to exchange pleasantries only when they were inside, at lunch, away from the cameras. (Well, away from the press cameras, anyway. The French official photography corps caught their lunchtime encounter; see link below.) I was actually more interested in the body language of Putin and Francois Hollande of France, which looked awful darn chummy to me. To my eye, meanwhile, Putin still looks, when he’s around Obama, like he cares what others may be thinking of their mutual postures. He looks self-conscious, rather than merely dismissive and contemptuous. We can hope that won’t change soon. Random note: the tone of the French foreign ministry’s photo/video coverage of the Queen is very old school and evocative. One day she’ll be gone, and her successor will be one among several European kings, a guy whose name has to be specified. Technically, that’s true of the Queen today. But since the day she assumed the crown, she’s been the one monarch whom the entire world knows you’re referring to when you say “the Queen.” We will all know we’ve truly left the 20th century behind when she leaves us.]
President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly ignored each other today as they stood just feet apart during a for state leaders’ commemorating the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
World figures met in France in the midst of a current geopolitical crisis, with Putin standing alongside leaders, including Obama, who are against his aggressive moves into Ukraine.
All eyes were on Putin and Obama as they refused to acknowledge each other at the group photograph before keeping their distance as they headed to lunch at the Chateau de Benouville.
But as speculation mounted over whether or not they would talk, the White House confirmed that the pair did indeed speak ‘for 10 to 15 minutes’ once they went inside for the luncheon.
‘President Obama and President Putin did speak with each other on the margins of the leaders lunch,’ his assistant Ben Rhodes said. ‘It was an informal conversation – not a formal bilateral meeting.’
A video of the interaction, captured by the French government, shows the men initially smiling with each other before the conversation apparently turns more serious. …
During the photo, Obama and Putin went to great pains not to speak to each other.
‘Obama and Putin were at times close enough to touch but did not speak with or acknowledge each other in the pool’s presence,’ the White House pool reporter noted.
As Putin hovered nearby, the president ‘made a point of jovially greeting other leaders, kissing Merkel on both cheeks, but he and Putin seemed to go out of their way not to encounter each other’.