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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Analyzing the Obama-Castro handshake

President Barack Obama shakes hands with Cuban President Raul Castro on Tuesday at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in South Africa.

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President Barack Obama shakes hands with Cuban President Raul Castro on Tuesday at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in South Africa.

10

December

The Miami Herald's Marc Caputo has a good analysis on the handshake President Barack Obama shared this morning with Cuban President Raul Castro at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in South Africa. The entire post is a great read, but here's an excerpt:

Most didn't hear the speech broadcast in the U.S. this morning. They won't read it. And there's a far better chance they'll see the photo or video of the handshake. Twitter is abuzz. The partisans have donned their armor of lazy talking points, hoisted their tired 140-character standards of dysfunction.

A few have noted the president "bowed" to Castro. It's a function of the president being so much taller than the little dictator, and being decorous at an event on the world stage. It just didn't look like an act of obeisance.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't talk about the handshake. But we should talk about the speech as well.

There's some historical significance to the greeting, as CNN points out, but reporter Christiane Amanpour's reaction was as instructive as it was over-wrought: "Castro! He's shaking hands with Raul Castro!"

Duh.

What's the president of the United States supposed to do — snub another world leader at the funeral of a great world figure who was friends with that other world leader?

That wouldn't be very Mandela of Obama.

[Last modified: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 11:52am]

    

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