The Dalai (often spelled "Dali") Lama is the leader of most, if not all, of the world's Buddhists. By millions of non-Buddhists, he is viewed as a source of wisdom and moral insight. He was warmly welcomed in Washington by President George H.W. Bush, and later, President George H.W. Bush awarded him the medal of honor. Why, then, has President Obama said, at first, that he would not meet with the Dali Lama? And only after pressure from conservative Republicans stated that he will reconsider his decision, but has not yet actually said that he would meet with him?
Obama hesitancy to meet with the world's foremost Buddhist leader, whether or not he ever actually does, is motivate by his fear of angering the mainland Chinese communist government, and its supporters among American left-wingers. Although Obama seeks to pose as a figure of religious tolerance, Buddhism is not politically correct among the leaders of communist China.
Conversely, the two presidents Bush, known as publicly Christian, embrace the Dali Lama as a symbol of religious freedom, understanding that the intolerance of the Maoist Chinese government toward the Tibetan Buddhists is essentially the same as the anti-Christian leaning which pervades certain branches of the American media, bureaucracy, and educational institutions.
Politics makes odd bedfellows; religion does, too: President George W. Bush warmly embraced the Dali Lama, yet President Obama is hesitant to decide if he will even speak with him, much less support him.