BE WARNED: If you live in red state, or otherwise have wingnuts in your vicinity, it would be wise to don a plastic poncho and make like you’re at a Gallagher show. Many heads are certain to explode on account of the handshake and smile exchange between President Barack Obama and Venezuela’s dastardly Hugo Chavez.
Will this seismic event cause as many Scanners moments as Saudi Bow-Gate?
Now would be a good time to turn your children, pets, and the elderly away from your screen. The graphic and horrifying details of the exchange of pleasantries follow:
Obama walked across a hotel meeting room to meet Chavez for the first time, said a senior U.S. administration official who witnessed it and spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the details of the event. The official said Obama initiated the encounter.
Chavez has been a fierce critic of the United States during President George W. Bush’s tenure.
“It was very, very short,” the official said of Friday’s meeting. “The president shook his hand, smiled and then went back to his position in the line.”
The encounter comes as Obama softens U.S. policy against Cuba, a Chavez ally.
Asked later about the meeting, Obama elicited laughter from reporters with a brief response: “I said, ‘Como estas?'”
That’s the familiar form of Spanish for “How are you?”
Chavez was more forthcoming with reporters.
“We shook each other’s hands like gentlemen, and it was predictable this would happen,” Chavez said.
“We don’t have any complexes that would prevent us from extending our hands to each other. I’m grateful for his gesture.”
O.M.F.G. Shocking! Of course, the unhinged have been on this for quite awhile already.