Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
September 30, 2014

Tweeting the Baby: In 2 Pix, the Clinton Script for 2016

From Bill: Charlotte, your grandmother @HillaryClinton and I couldn’t be happier!

From Hillary: .@BillClinton and I are over the moon to be grandparents! One of the happiest moments of our life.

I’m endlessly fascinated by the visual marketing of the Clintons. I have no idea what that relationship is like away from the cameras but these are mega-cultural celebrities who are extraordinarily mindful right now of generating the picture of marital contentment.

Having followed them for a long time, my impression is that nothing brings the Clintons together like the prospect of power. With Hillary going through the pre-presidential announcement dance, I was curious to see their respective photo tweets of the potential first grandchild. (It’s sort of like Chelsea II, isn’t it?) At the same time, the two becoming grandparents becomes the first major Campaign ’16 photo-op, the rebirth of the quest back to the pinnacle and occasion for the visual re-inspection of the Clinton marriage.

Of course, what’s noteworthy between the two photos is the absolute uniformity of Hillary’s presentation. God forbid the shot on Bubba’s feed would show him holding the baby or any other view of his wife other than the one stamped out. You can have it in a left profile or right, but otherwise, there’s the Democrat’s Madonna.

What’s a lot more fun, however, is examining these photos for of the couple alone. Again, this is wildly speculative but I don’t see much chemistry between the two in the dorky photo of Bill. They’re connected only through the baby. (And I find it hilarious, if completely accidental, that the one who roamed is seen here with a full suitcase behind him.)

The picture on Hillary’s feed, on the other hand, has a complete campaign vibe — formal down to the pearls. Truly, that’s less a Tweet pic than a composed portrait. There is Bill with his left arm around the candidate, his right index finger touching her shoulder. Then, you can prominently see his ring finger. Segueing from fidelity to intimacy, his pinky touches hers in a trinity with the baby, his wrist resting against her breast, no less. Enveloping her, he’s totally and lovingly there for her, but completely stripped of personality. And that’s the script, isn’t it?

(photos: Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton/Twitter)

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