Close on the heels of his other missteps, Obama has decided not to attend the upcoming G-20 summit. His aides say his presence would be "awkward" because he isn't yet the president, but couldn't he just go and listen?
Several Obama advisers, in separate interviews, all used the word “awkward” to describe the situation. But Robert Gibbs , a senior adviser to Mr. Obama, said: “While some may say it’s awkward that he’s not there, it would be far more problematic to be there. We firmly believe there is only one president at a time.” ...
The potential for even more significant misunderstanding was underscored last weekend when a quick, seemingly perfunctory telephone call by Mr. Obama returning the congratulatory call of Poland’s president led to a dispute about what was said about missile defense. If confusion over such a delicate issue could arise from a roughly five-minute phone call, Obama advisers reasoned, then the prospect of longer encounters in person with foreign leaders at this point would be fraught with peril. He has not even designated a secretary of state, Treasury secretary or national security adviser.
It's true that Obama can't set policy yet, but maybe there's something he could learn by listening to the visiting foreign leaders and watching the process.
Seeing as how, you know, he has no experience with this sort of thing.