Maybe this really was a case of getting the photographer in and out that quickly, and Pete grabbed — and the communications people published — the best of what he got. I hope so, because that is one impersonal picture. I don’t presume for a second Obama starved the Repubs of eye contact. You get that disjointed sense, however, from this one instant in time. Unless the goal was to capture the opposition in rapt attention, however, the fact it looks like Obama is talking to Rice, or seeking her attention at the expense of the other two, looks a bit like a slight.
Beyond that though, give Obama credit for leveraging Mac and little Mac. It’s been so long — in political time, at least — one almost forgets it was McCain who Obama outclassed in ’08. One thing that’s fitting about the image is how it evokes one of my favorite shots of Obama’s newb days in the White House. As the Congress, McConnell and the rest were greeting his “new era in Washington” with a stone wall, do you long time readers remember this shot of Obama’s outreach session with the opposition? (You might recall I likened the top part of that chair to brass knuckles.)
Credit Obama one more time, though, for doing the mind meld on McCain, and for recognizing him as someone always in some cycle of defiance, then defiance of what he was just in defiance of.
(photo: Pete Souza/White House caption: President Barack Obama meets with Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham in the Oval Office to discuss Syria, Sept. 2, 2013. National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice is at left.)