First, Team Obama caught the media and right-wing mostly off-guard Tuesday morning coming out of the three-day weekend, allowing them to establish critical momentum with the Sotomayor nomination.
Second, they caused the Repubs pause by putting forth not just a highly-qualified and mostly non-controversial candidate, but also a Latina, representing a constituency the Michael Steele and Co. can ill afford to further alienate.
Third, they signaled that the campaign to move Sonia Sotomayor through the nomination process will be heavily built (as well it should) on the strength of a very powerful life story. (Sound familiar?) Using the White House Flickr stream, which is emerging as a highly strategic publicity asset in threading a more intimate and freewheeling pictorial narrative around the more staid and filtered visual news stream, you can see Team Obama already laying down the narrative on day one.
If you closely follow their Flickr stream, you might appreciate that the White House — in contrast to standard newswire practice — is quite informal and subjective in regards to what or how many details (especially names) they provide in a caption. In this case, the accompanying text reads as follows:
President Barack Obama greets the family members of Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor, including her mother Celina Sotomayor (smiling), prior to an announcement in the East Room of the White House, May 26, 2009.
Echoing the photo from the announcement ceremony posted two images before, it’s no surprise that Celina is more a focus here than Sonia: The joy elevates the courageous and exemplary single mother as much as it does the American dream.
(Pete Souza/White House. May 26, 2009. White House Flickr Photostream)