January 12, 2005

Teddy Roosevelt Gave Me An Earful

Hsteddy-2        Bushlincoln-1

Is Larry Downing perseverating?

In consecutive days, these two high profile White House photos were framed with famous Presidents in the background.  The first, taken Tuesday, shows Michael Chertoff with Teddy Roosevelt’s left boot practically in his ear.  Chertoff was speaking as the new Secretary of Homeland Security designate.  The other shot, taken the day before, shows Colin Powell, framed by George Bush on one side and Abe Lincoln on the other. 

Given the artful skill with which the Administration controls the visuals, could they have set up the sight lines to maximize these juxtapositions?  In light of the credibility problems resulting from the embarrassing Homeland Security nomination of Bernie Kerik, and the more embarrassing situation in Iraq, could the Bush PR team (the news has been reporting about fresh faces on board) have thought up this subtle maneuver to help lend some needed stature? 

Or, since photographer Larry Downing of Reuters took both shots, could it have been his doing?  (Perserveration, by the way, is defined as “the inappropriate persistence of a response in a current task which may have been appropriate for a former task.”)  Maybe Larry was just looking for a strategy to spice up these photo ops.  Or maybe, he liked what he got on Monday, and it was subconsciously in his head on Tuesday.

Photographer not withstanding, however, the Roosevelt Room was definitely a choice setting.  You put this guy’s jaw alongside Roosevelt on his horse, and you get help thinking the bad guys are in trouble.

(image 1: Larry Downing/Reuters in YahooNews;  image 2: Larry Downing/Reuters in YahooNews)

Post By

Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

The Big Picture

Follow us on Instagram (@readingthepictures) and Twitter (@readingthepix), and


A curated collection of pieces related to our most-popular subject matter.


Comments Powered by Disqus