Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio on Tuesday brushed off the brouhaha over an AP photograph that showed President Barack Obama bowing to her last week at MacDill Air Force base in Tampa, saying the president was only being “gracious,” according to a Fox News report.
Obama stopped by Tampa to announce $8 billion in federal stimulus for high-speed rail lines, with $1.25 million earmarked for Florida. But the announcement of the latest stimulus package was to some extent overshadowed by another episode of Bowgate.
The president weathered a storm of controversy last year when he bowed to Japanese Emperor Akihito and tipped over again at the waist before Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah.
This time with the Tampa mayor, the President bent at a 45-degree angle when greeting the woman, who is about his same height. The caption to the AP photo that captured the moment read: “President Barack Obama bows to Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio.”
Iorio told Fox News, “It's hard for me to believe that this is such a major issue. It is an unusual photograph, but ... I wish people could all meet President Obama face-to-face, but he is a kind and sincere and gracious individual and you really see that when you meet him.”
Iorio added that the presidential gesture did not rate “the kind of analysis that's been going on.”
Over the weekend, the photo was flying around the blogosphere, often appearing alongside pics of other presidential bows.
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