6 Weird Gifts President Obama Has Received

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By Lucas Reilly


Every time the commander-in-chief makes a public appearance, someone's handing him a gift. What happens to his loot?

A gift's fate comes down to who gave it and how much it cost. If a foreign leader gives a present valued under $350, the president can keep it. But if it costs a penny more, it's considered a gift to the American people. The State Department meticulously catalogs the worth of each gift the president receives, and the haul is usually stowed in the National Archives until it becomes part of the presidential library. (If a president really wants one of these gifts, he can purchase it from the American people at market value.)

If, on the other hand, it's an American citizen who's sent the gift, the president is free to keep it under one stipulation: He has to pay taxes on it. Gifts the president rejects are usually sent to the National Archives or given to charity. Don't bother trying to send the first family your famous holiday fruitcake, though; foodstuff gifts are immediately tossed by the Secret Service.

1. Crocodile Insurance


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In 2011, Australia’s Northern Territory Chief Minister, Paul Henderson, gifted Obama a $50,000 policy that would cover the President in case he was attacked by a crocodile. Obama called it “the most unique gift I’ve received as president.”

2. 50 pairs of H&M boxer-briefs


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David Beckham, LA Galaxy soccer player, husband to Posh, and H&M underwear model, sent Obama 50 pairs of fitted boxer-briefs in 2012.

3. A $395 Pencil

In 2009, Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, gave Obama a Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil.

4. Customized Red, White, and Blue “Soul” Headphones

At a private Atlanta fundraiser in early 2012, rapper Ludacris gave Obama a pair of "Soul by Ludacris" headphones emblazoned with the presidential seal, then tweeted, "Just gave Barack his @SoulbyLudacris headphones. Re-elect Obama 2012! Preach!"

5. A Donkey


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Though the town of Turbaco, Colombia, had already held a parade in Obama's honor, they also wanted to give him a very special gift: A young donkey named Demo. (Obama politely declined.)

6. A Ping Pong Table


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British Prime Minister David Cameron gave Obama a ping pong table in March 2012 to commemorate the president's 2011 visit. "During my visit to London last year, David arranged for us to play some local students (in) table tennis," Obama said. "As they would say in Britain, we got thrashed."

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December 5, 2012 - 8:00am
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