August 16, 2012

Gravitas Revisited: When Obama Became Acting President

Bag is in summer mode this week, recharging for the conventions. In the spirit of “what goes around, comes around,”  we have curated a group of posts that say as much about where we are or what we’re seeing now as what we saw at the time.   On each, we’ve added a few current thoughts. As always, we are interested in your take. We will be back in real time on the 20th.

Looking back at Campaign ’08, photo after photo showed Obama looking presidential, even inevitable in the contest with McCain. Today, despite the fact the country is still in that ditch, the pictures don’t necessary support the attack line that Obama is failing at the job. On the contrary, Obama still looks like the guy in the seat behind the sign “the buck stops here.”

Here’s the original July 26, 2008 post.


Somehow, this pic from last Monday slipped by me.  I just caught it this evening in a WAPO grand tour of “The Trip.”

Frank Rich is dead on regarding the vacuum.  Obama’s clear point, on heading out, was that he was embarking on a “listening tour,” and practically every image from the Iraq leg backs that up.  In spite of the fact, however, it takes little-to-nothing to imagine this scene actually taking place in February ‘09, with the C.I.C. parked in the center of the action, Vice President Hagel fighting a little jet lag and Secretary of State Reed telling Petraeus (and the about-to-be furloughed Mr. Crocker) how it’s going to be.

I’m not making any personnel predictions, by the way, or assuming the actual circumstances here involve anything other than a conversation.  The dynamics of the pic, however, speak to how powerful the trip was in visualizing Obama in the Oval Office, and just how much the intellectual and policy authority is shifting, as well.

(image: U.S. Army-Getty Images.  Baghdad. July 21, 2008.  From: WAPO’s “Obama’s International Tour” slide show)

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Karen Donley
See other posts by Karen here.

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