With the leaders of 19 nations converging on Washington and clamoring to meet with the president-elect, the situation has become, as Barack Obama’s advisers tell the New York Times, “awkward.” Russian officials apparently thought President Dmitri Medvedev would be meeting with Obama, who transition advisers are keeping in Chicago as they tread carefully to avoid major snafus.
Despite the stickiness of the situation, many in Washington approve of Obama’s attempt to keep a respectful distance from the economic summit. California Rep. Howard L. Berman points out the hazards of crashing the meeting: “What if the administration makes a suggestion that he doesn’t agree with? Should he pop up and say something? Is his silence acquiescence?”