NEW YORK – Feeling the heat of growing U.S. resentment over Libyan strongman Col. Muammar Gadhafi's visit to the United Nations, President Barack Obama is moving quickly to keep his distance from the mercurial leader.
There will be numerous opportunities for the two to meet this week, such as a lunch and dinner hosted by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for visiting VIPs, including Gadhafi and Obama.
U.N. sources admit the two will be kept at some distance, making it as difficult as possible for them to cross paths at the receptions.
That didn't work at last summer's G-20 Summit in Italy, where Gadhafi sought out Obama for a brief photo op.
A White House spokesman, Ben Chang, however, told WND that Gadhafi is definitely "not on the invite list" for either function.
Chang refused to elaborate.
That would put the Libyan out in the cold with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.
Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega, however, two long-time U.S. foes, may get a pass this time.
Obama also holds the presidency of the U.N. Security Council for September, and Libya is a non-permanent Council member.
Chang admitted the two "could meet" during a special meeting called for Thursday morning by the White House to discuss nuclear non-proliferation.
It was less than four years ago that Libya admitted to operating a secret nuclear arms program for more than a decade.
Many feel the nation only came clean after the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
"[Gadhafi] felt he could be next," explained former US/UN Ambassador John Bolton.
While Obama attempts to give Col. Gadhafi the cold shoulder, New York City officials have also been keen to jump into the fray.
Intentionally leaking various attempts by the Gadhafi entourage to find a place to set up his infamous traveling tent, city officials succeeded in forcing Gadhafi to set up shop inside the Libyan U.N. mission on East 48th Street.
Not missing a beat, The New York Daily News today highlighted a photo showing a neighbor's dog relieving herself on the red carpet being rolled out in front of the Libyan high-rise.
"She has great taste," said a smiling passer by.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg was not available for comment.