Grapevine: World Leaders Shown Kissing in Advertisements

United Colors of Benetton ad controversy


And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine...

Open and Shut Case

Vice President Biden attended a meeting about government accountability and transparency this afternoon.

But there was little of either since it was closed to the press.

You will recall this administration vowed to be the most open and transparent in history.

Earlier this year, President Obama accepted an award for his commitment to open and transparent government in a meeting also closed to media.

The Washington Post notes reporters often complain about access at bill signings and meetings that are either canceled, or closed, to keep them from shouting questions.

Sealed With a Kiss

A new United Colors of Benetton ad campaign has been getting attention and getting criticism.

The "Unhate" campaign features various world leaders Photoshopped kissing.

President Obama makes two appearances kissing Chinese leader Hu Jintao

and also Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

The White House noted it disapproves of commercial use of the president's likeness.

Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu is seen kissing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

And Germany's Angela Merkel kissing French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Benetton says the pictures are -- quote -- "...symbolic images of reconciliation -- with a touch of ironic hope and constructive provocation."

The Vatican did not agree and asked the company to pull the image of Pope Benedict kissing a Cairo imam which it did.

Popularity Contest

Finally, almost nobody wants to kiss Congress these days.

Colorado Democratic Senator Michael Bennet decided to compare Congress' nine percent approval rating to some other surveys.

He found the following to be more popular than Congress: The IRS; President Nixon during Watergate; BP during the Gulf oil spill; and the idea of the U.S. going communist.

There is at least one person less popular than Congress...Cuba's Fidel Castro.