October 16, 2012

Pic of the Night? (…Yeah, Revised With that Fuzzy Crazy Other One)

I assume a lot of people are going to see Obama bringing the passion as the whole story. But there’s more going on here. Was Obama the central figure/more grounded? Is Romney’s back up? …Did the tie colors play true to form?

I know this one’s getting more action:

but what I like about Dharapak’s shot is that:

1. Romney’s focus is on Obama and Obama’s focus is on the audience — as well as Romney, in his peripheral vision. As I tweeted, Obama didn’t just bring the passion that was lacking in Denver, he was connecting with the people in that room (particularly the women) whereas Romney, schooled as he is to look the part after eight years of practice, is still the data driven guy talking to this audience as if it was a shareholder’s meeting.

2. Obama’s hand gestures tonight were not just about rebutting Romney or holding him off, though there was plenty of that, but to also establish his own pace and rhythm. To the extent Romney has a manic, herky-jerky quality (which I have to acknowledge, he kept remarkably under control), Obama presented himself in a way that was mostly, and impressively conversational.  (If you heard someone say “Obama was Obama last night,” I think that’s what he or she is referring to.)

3. Romney has those hard eyes. The problem with the other shot is that it makes Romney look like crazy McCain.

Okay, if it needs to be exaggerated, but because we know he’s a power-tripper, a  bully, he’s dark and his guardedness makes it seem like he’s hiding who-knows-what-kind-of harder or weirder views. In Dharapak’s photo, though, Romney is simply that guy who is never going to listen or yield. It’s right there (the blue or purple subtly accenting the discrepancy). And I think that’s a view, after Obama revealed that much more heart and Emotional IQ over subjects like Benghazi and Aurora, that is going to crystalize.


What was something of a thrill last night was coming across the “reverse angle” of Dharapak’s photo in Getty’s debate edit. Not only to we get an actual view here of how Obama was engaging the audience, but it’s the same segment of the audience that Romney turned off so speaking about women (and binders) that I highlight in the following post. You can compare here.

(photo 1: Charles Dharapak/AP. #APontheTrail. photo 2: still looking. photo 3: Reuters. photo 4: Win McNamee/Getty Images.)

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Michael Shaw
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