Toldja It Was Just A Handshake

Obama shook hands with Hugo, but made a deal with Uribe.

Obama may have shaken hands, accepted an idiotic book and politely listened to diatribes from regional troublemakers. But for our ally Colombia, he wasn't just gesturing. He was delivering results.

It started Saturday, when he put himself next to Colombian President Alvaro Uribe at lunch and then studiously exchanged notes.

Having listened to Uribe, (and that must have been a nice dose of sanity after enduring 50 minutes of ravings from Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega, or weird conspiracy theories by Bolivia's Evo Morales), Obama then seemed to realize that the long-stalled Colombia free trade agreement should have been passed yesterday.

The president announced that his team must find a way to pass the agreement. With world trade down 80%, the pact opens new markets to the U.S. He demanded immediate action, asking Colombia's trade minister to fly to Washington this week.

Then it got even better: Obama invited Uribe to the White House and promised to visit Colombia himself, allowing the Colombians to lay out for him their vast economic and social progress, and their desire to integrate into global trade.

In a final flourish, Obama scribbled his autograph onto President Uribe's notes, writing: "To President Uribe, with admiration! Barack H. Obama." A smiling Uribe showed it to reporters. Given Uribe's discretion, it's likely that Obama asked him to do that.

The media made much of Obama's polite gestures to dictators, but he gave them nothing resembling what he gave to Uribe. Name one dictator Obama sat with for lunch. Which troublemaker got a White House invitation? Which tinhorn got a promise to visit?

And has anyone heard of Obama giving his autograph — "with admiration!" — to another president?

Indeed. Well-played, sir.