Putin visits Washington, gets refrigerator magnets
In a historic first, the likes of which Washington has not seen since "Gorbymania" during the Reagan administration, Prime Minister of the Russian Republic Vladimir Putin made a historic visit to the United States to discuss spheres of influence in Europe and the Middle East with President Barack Obama.
Putin presented Obama with a priceless Faberge egg from the collection in the Russian National Museum, "As a symbol of the historic ties between our two nations which were, with a slight interlude of tension between the 1950s and 1980s, the most uniformly friendly of any between two such powerful nations, from the founding of the United States through the Second World War," Putin said.
Only 69 of the eggs were made by Peter Carl Faberge and his assistants, as gifts for members of the Russian royal family between 1885 and 1917. The eggs are made of precious metals decorated with enamel and gem stones and open to reveal cunningly fashioned models, such as miniature royal carriages and other designs.
The term "Fabergé egg" has become a synonym for luxurious opulence, and the eggs are regarded as masterpieces of the jeweler's art.
Obama presented Putin with a set of White House refrigerator magnets and autographed copies of his books, "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream" and, "Dreams from my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance."
Putin offered to extend the treaty of 1867 which ceded Alaska to the United States.
Obama politely refused and told Putin could take it home with him, and would like the purchase price refunded.
“As Mr. Putin knows, we've got a bit of a budget crunch theses days,” Obama said, “and as conservatives are harping on the necessity of cutting spending, it makes sense to cut loose a state that has always absorbed more federal revenue than it produces.”
Saturday Night Live alumnus Tina Fey commented, "Now Sarah Palin can see Russia from her house, you betcha!"
Alaska's Governor Palin, who has been touted as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2012, was unavailable for comment.
A presidential aid unofficially apologized to the Chief of Protocol of the Russian delegation for putting Putin up in the D.C. Super 8 motel, and explained that Barbara Streisand was using the Lincoln Bedroom this week.