December 5, 2009

Best Foot Forward?

President Barack Obama, along with Vice President Joe Biden, Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, holds a meeting with Congressional Leadership in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, in advance of a major policy speech to announce his new Afghanistan war strategy, Dec. 1, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)   This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Take a look at this White House photo of Obama briefing Congressional Leaders on the Afghan escalation the morning of his West Point announcement speech. With the exception of Admiral Mullen on the side, looking “in the game,” it’s just abject depression. Even Gates looks defeated. Pelosi looks particularly stricken. Notice how she and Boehner have their arms to their sides and under the table — an unusually lifeless position. Hoyer steals a glance over here to the left, perhaps to observe someone’s reaction. Reid buries himself in a note. Durbin and Leahy are doing hand-to-chin gestures, though Durbin’s eyes drill a hole in the table, just like McConnell’s. Right of McConnell, Jon Kyle gazes up and off into space. And there’s Obama, pitching.

Keep in mind the White House chose this pic out of who-knows-how-many-takes as their best foot forward. Why was it posted to the WH Flickr stream? Are they going for an “Obama in charge” message? Clearly they don’t think this says something about support or consensus. …Perhaps this speaks to the early formation of a war bubble?

(photo: Pete Souza/White House via WH Flickr photo stream)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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