Feinstein Accepts Inauguration Gifts for Obama, Biden

To Barack Obama, from Congress on behalf of the American people: One hand-cut, crystal bowl with an etching of his new home in Washington.

The president-elect will receive the present at a luncheon with members of Congress after the inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20.

The $2,500 one-of-a-kind bowl weighs nearly 8 pounds and shows an image of the White House, with cherry trees on each side. As the bowl is rotated, the president's residence can be seen through the trees.

Congress commissioned the bowl from Lenox Inc., which donated it as a gift, a favor that is allowable under a congressional resolution.

Joe Biden will receive a similar crystal bowl when he becomes vice president, only his will have an image of the Capitol, with blooming cherry trees.

The gifts took hundreds of hours to make and were designed by glass cutter Timothy Carder using a combination of etching and hand cutting.

Obama's is 5 1/2 inches high and 9 inches in diameter and sits on a hand-cut base made of optical crystal engraved with his name and the date of his inauguration.

"The inauguration of a new president is one of the most solemn and ceremonial moments in our nation's history," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. The bowl "captures the beauty and dignity" of the occasion, she said.

The company created the inaugural gifts for George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

"Lenox, a great American china company, has once again created a beautiful gift that captures the beauty and dignity of this truly special occasion," Feinstein said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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