WHITE HOUSE NOTEBOOK: Obama draws crowd in Yangon
As Obama stood next to the world’s most recognized democracy icon, he mispronounced her name repeatedly.
Ever gracious, Suu Kyi did not correct her American guest for calling her Aung YAN Suu Kyi multiple times during his statement to reporters after their meeting.
Proper pronunciation for the Nobel laureate’s name is Ahng Sahn Soo Chee.
The meeting came after Obama met with Myanmar’s reformist new President Thein Sein — a name he also botched.
As the two addressed the media, Obama called his counterpart ‘‘President Sein,’’ an awkward, slightly affectionate reference that would make most Burmese cringe.
Note to presidential advisers: For future rounds of diplomacy, the president of Myanmar is President Thein Sein — on first and second reference.
In his remarks after the meeting with Suu Kyi, Obama also lavished Clinton with praise.
Once rivals for the presidency, the two are traveling together one final time. Clinton plans to leave office as soon as the U.S. Senate confirms her successor sometime early next year.
‘‘This is her last foreign trip that we’re going to take together and it is fitting that we have come here to a country that she has done so much to support,’’ Obama said, noting that he dispatched his top diplomat to Myanmar a year ago after seeing ‘‘early flickers of reform.’’
Obama told Clinton he ‘‘could not be more grateful’’ for her service and for ‘‘the powerful message’’ that she and Suu Kyi send about the ‘‘importance of women, and men, everywhere, embracing and promoting democratic values and human rights.’’
Associated Press writers Jim Kuhnhenn and Yadana Htun in Yangon, Myanmar; Jocelyn Gecker in Bangkok, and Matthew Daly and Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.