The grip-and-grin was caught on camera during the G-8 summit of world leaders in Italy. Khadafy was there as head of the African Union.
The encounter came as families who lost loved ones aboard the doomed plane met with officials in Washington and the British Consulate in Manhattan to protest the potential release of the lone terrorist convicted in the bombing.
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi is jailed in Scotland. But he has prostate cancer and could be turned over to Khadafy.
“This thing with Obama happened on the same day that we spilled our guts to his own administration that this killer should not be released! I’m disgusted and disappointed. Obama sent the wrong message,” said Stephanie Bernstein, 58, of Bethesda, Md., who lost her husband, Michael, 36, a lawyer who hunted Nazis for the Justice Department.
“I just hope this was a superficial ‘hello and goodbye,’ and not a show of support for a bad man who should have been taken out years ago,” said Jack Flynn, 71, of Montville, N.J., who lost his son John Patrick, a 21-year-old student at Colgate.
“It will be a real horror show now if they release Megrahi,” added Flynn, who broke down in a conversation with the Daily News. Both Bernstein and Flynn voted for Obama.
Although Libya is no longer on the State Department list of terrorist nations, Khadafy is still hated for protecting Megrahi.
Flight 103, a Boeing 747, was en route from London’s Heathrow Airport to JFK when it blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland. The terrorist bombing killed all 259 aboard and 11 on the ground.
Khadafy refused to turn over the suspects for a decade, worsening relations between Washington and Tripoli.
In 1986, after Libyan agents killed two U.S. servicemen in a bombing at a West Berlin disco, President Ronald Reagan ordered air strikes against Libya, denouncing “this mad dog of the Middle East.”
Shortly before the handshake, White House National Security Council member Denis McDonough said Obama would greet any leader who approached him.
“I don’t think he’s given much consideration to whose hand he’ll shake or whose hand he’ll not shake,” McDonough said.
Khadafy attempted an image makeover in 2003 when he agreed to pay $2.7 billion to the families of the 270 victims and dismantled his nuclear weapons. President George W. Bush took Libya off the list of terrorist