Our literary president apparently has a new book agent; the US State Department.
The State Department has bought more than $70,000 worth of books authored by President Obama, sending out copies as Christmas gratuities and stocking "key libraries" around the world with "Dreams From My Father" more than a decade after its release.
The U.S. Embassy in Egypt, for instance, spent $28,636 in August 2009 for copies of Mr. Obama's best-selling 1995 memoir. Six weeks earlier, the embassy had placed another order for the same book for more than $9,000, federal purchasing records show.
About the same time, halfway around the world, the U.S. Embassy in South Korea had the same idea and spent more than $6,000 for copies of "Dreams From My Father."
One month later, the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, spent more than $3,800 for hardcover copies of the Indonesian version of Mr. Obama's "The Audacity of Hope," records show.
A review of the expenditures in a federal database did not reveal any examples of State Department purchases of books by former Presidents George W. Bush or Bill Clinton. The purchases of Mr. Obama's literary work mostly, but not always, took place in the months after Mr. Obama captured the White House.
Leslie Paige, a spokeswoman for Citizens Against Government Waste, a watchdog group, said if the federal government is looking to cut costs, eliminating purchases of Mr. Obama's books is a good place to start.
"It's inappropriate for U.S. taxpayer dollars to be spent on this," she said. "This sounds like propaganda."
I can just see some poor, benighted Egyptian diplomat's face when some State Department flunky pushes an Obama autobiography on him. A look of horror mixed with shock, no doubt. And can you see some very polite South Korean diplomat smiling and bowing while accepting this "gift" and then putting it in the burn basket when he gets back to his office?
The White House probably didn't know about this but still, can't we spend our propaganda dollars a little more wisely?