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The great art of the awkward political kiss

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Kissing can be an awkward business and no more so than in the realm of politics. Whether friend or foe, political ally or someone you've just traded barbs with, politicians are constantly faced with situations where a kiss is the standard form of greeting. And the type of kiss you share is particularly telling. Will it be a polite chin swipe on an official state tour? A fumbling collision of noses at a convention in Geneva? Or a reassuring-arm-squeeze-plus-peck after sealing a trade deal or treaty? We examine the most entertaining embraces ever to grace a political sphere:

Photos: Rex Features and Getty Images

  • Awkward political kisses

    London, June 2008: Cherie Blair forms a moue of disgust in response to Bill Clinton's cheek peck at Nelson Mandela's 90th Birthday Dinner.

  • Awkward political kisses

    London, October 2008: You can't fault former PM Gordon Brown's enthusiasm as he launches himself at German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

  • Awkward political kisses

    Dallas, November 2010: Former US President George W. Bush flaunts his pout to perfection alongside former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

  • Awkward political kisses

    London, June 2010: It's a fine-tuned air kiss for Carla Bruni-Sarkozy while David Cameron makes a beeline for the then French First Lady's ear.

  • Awkward political kisses

    Fairbairn, Australia, November 2011: Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard puckers up for a hands-on embrace with Barack Obama.

  • Awkward political kisses

    Washington D.C., May 2005: Former US President George Bush gets an appreciative lick from Miss Beezley, the youngest of his two dogs.

  • Awkward political kisses

    London, April 2006: Condoleezza Rice is a vision of contentedness as she locks cheeks with Jack Straw.

  • Awkward political kisses

    Windsor, March 2011: Barbara Windsor has nowhere to hide as Boris Johnson moves in for the kill.

  • Awkward political kisses

    Brussels, March 2013: Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker and French President Francois Hollande share a genteel and rather touching rubbing of cheeks.

  • Awkward political kisses

    Washington D.C., January 2012: Barack Obama lands Hillary Clinton with a chin-line smacker.

  • Awkward political kisses

    London, 2011: Michelle Obama and David Cameron are birds of a feather when it comes to their kissing moves - their faces are exactly symmetrical here.

  • Awkward political kisses

    Washington D.C., December 2011: IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde veers towards Hillary Clinton's face but we can't quite read the former Secretary of State's expression. Joy? Or slight alarm?

  • Awkward political kisses

    London, June 2010: Samantha Cameron and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy opt out of a conventional kiss, instead plumping for a tender shoulder squeeze.

  • Awkward political kisses

    New York, April 2012: Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg rewards Miss Piggy with a gentle mwah.

  • Awkward political kisses

    France, September 2003: One-time French president Jacques Chirac is ever the gentleman as he lands a wet one on Laura Bush's hand.

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