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April 30, 2009

Rising And Falling With Detroit

Obama Auto Taskforce.jpg

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I was taken by the appearance of the Obama Auto Task Force (standing behind the President as he discusses the Chrysler bankruptcy), the members looking clearly outside their comfort zone. (I appreciate the Truman touch, by the way, although the painting seems to only heighten the look of anxiety amongst the team.)

Not knowing Chrysler's fate until the night before, the team members seemed to appear before the press without their game faces on. (Geithner, in particular, casts a look to Obama like he hopes he knows what he is doing.) What the photo reveals, then, perhaps more clearly than any other so far, is the strength of Obama's leadership — especially, in house — in the face of multiple tremendous challenges.

(revised: 1/2/09 1:27 am PST)


And then, this image from today's NYT Chrysler bankruptcy slide show symbolizes how much an American president can appear to be standing up for an American auto company, the sales numbers and the ability to move cars. (Notice the seal of the office affixed to the hood.)

(updated: 9:16 pm PST.)

(image 1: Greg Gibson/Associated Press. image 2: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters. caption: U.S. President Barack Obama (C) speaks about Chrysler and the auto industry, as he stands with his auto task force at the White House in Washington April 30, 2009. Obama confirmed on Thursday that auto maker Chrysler LLC would go into Chapter 11 bankruptcy and enter a deal with Italy's Fiat to survive. )

  • Vulture Breath

    I’m guessing the photo is reversed, and that’s not really a British jeep.

  • Thirdeye Pushpin

    Why is it that Geithner and Summers always seem to have a shifting quality in their eyes. Those two above all, seem to give me concern regarding motives and transparency and whenever they are around I am suspicious.

  • mjfgates

    Nope, photo #1 is not reversed; the “JEEP” logo is pretty obvious about that. Kind’a funny that it’s a right-hand-drive model, though.

  • pcalvin

    I have seen the Obama image elsewhere cropped just above the teleprompter as a horizontal. Here, with the Truman portrait above as a reference, it is a different photograph.

  • Reece

    Everyone does look really nervous.
    Obama definitely has a sermon thing going here.

  • Max Udargo

    I don’t think any analysis of the first photo is complete without taking into account the teleprompters framing the photo. To me the photo highlights the contrast between Obama’s cheerful demeanor and the sulking, perhaps impatient, technocrats who have other places they need to be. The teleprompters tell us that Obama’s positive attitude is artificial and scripted, and they’re even literally forcing him to keep his chin up. Reality, meanwhile, waits grimly and impatiently back down on earth, below the lofty teleprompters and meaningless references to revered historical figures.
    And for some reason the photo makes me think of The Office. Maybe it’s because Geithner reminds me of Ryan? And is that Toby back there? It’s a frightening thought, because in that scenario President Obama is clearly Michael Scott. And that can’t be good.

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