PICTURES: Did Obama and Ryan hold a Mai Tai budget summit?

Was there a Hawaii-themed budget summit?

The latest budget deal is done and President Obama is about to go to Hawaii with his family.

Born in the Aloha State (sorry, birthers), when he gets there, Obama usually enjoys some golf, beach time, and the local delicacies. He eats his Christmas dinner and goes to visit the troops. Maybe he’ll shoot some hoops.

Some of that sounds awfully nice, but not all of it — like the “Spam musubi . . . a popular Hawaii snack consisting of a Japanese onigiri, or rice ball, with a slice of cooked spam on it and wrapped with nori, or dried seaweed” that Obama’s been known to order.

Before Obama left, it looks like a someone on the president’s staff decided to get some photographs that seem a tad silly — UNLESS they’re indications of how bipartisanship can happen in Washington — or a parody.

Here’s Obama with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, with Mai Tais to drink and leis around their necks.


Is it me, or does Ryan’s expression almost look like he’s wondering how the got himself into this pose? The new beard adds to the effect, no?

For this picture, the caption reads “President Obama seals the deal over Mai Tais with Paul Ryan.” I have to say, I’m not convinced that’s how it went down.

Another image shows the White House press corps with leis.

If they’re going to Hawaii to cover the president, you’d think they’d look a little happier.


The caption for this picture, by the way, is “A Beloved Tradition: Fresh Hawaiin Lei for the Press Pool.” And the description reads, “Every year, President Obama shares his “Aloha Christmas Spirit” with the White House press pool at the final press conference prior to his departure.”

Yet the juxtaposition between the leis and the journalists’ expressions cries out, “Get me out of here!” or possibly “Let’s get this press conference going and done.”

Then again, they may be thinking of eating some of that Spam musubi.

In my humble view, they’d be happier looking forward to something nice and refreshing, like shave ice, the Hawaiian version of a snow cone. (Here are some reviews of a shave ice place Obama favors on Oahu.)


In the end, all we can conclude is that someone has a quirky sense of humor. And, yes, the pictures ARE from a parody website.

It seems like a bit of a shame, since bipartisanship might be enhanced by a Mai Tai summit.


This post has been revised.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.