First of all, I’m thrilled about the expansion of the Americorp program, which Obama, Clinton and Teddy Kennedy celebrated yesterday.
Regarding the image, after all the elbows thrown during the primaries, I think Beltway-types were anticipating the Obama – Clinton photo op. The sense of mutuality (and deference to the former President, as Obama emphasizes his observer status by clutching his gloves with crossed hands) is effective here. I didn’t see any video, but what argues for a genuine good mood is just how relaxed and loose the students appear.
Seriously, the first thing that went through my head when I saw this was: “burying the hatchet.”
It’s also ironic how the first photo compares with this second one which led off a NYT slide show yesterday about Flint, Michigan. The context involves a movement afoot, known as “planned shrinkage,” to let the forest take over neighborhoods in Flint that are otherwise decomposing.
(image 1: Martin H. Simon-Pool/Getty Images. caption: U.S. President Barack Obama watches as former President Bill Clinton (R) participates in a tree planting event at the Kenilworth Aquatic GardensApril 21, 2009 in Washington, DC. The event was organized by the Student Conservation Association, an Americorp organization. Today Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act that intends to more than triple the AmeriCorp volunteers to over 250,000 in the United States costing taxpayers roughly a billion dollars a year, over the next five years. image 2: Fabrizio Costantini for The New York Times.)