October 10, 2011
He gets it, or “he’s gonna get it?” (Click for mega-size.)
This photo, leading off the current batch upload to the White House Flickr Stream, is unusual for its intensity. If Biden wasn’t there, looking at Obama as starkly as these “teachers, veterans, first responders, and business owners,” I’d be inclined to recommend the back door. (Of course, what option does Veep have but look to the hope, but to empathize with the masses?) Without more context, the other fact we know from the the caption is that these citizens have earned an audience with the President just before his statement, on September 12th, about his “American Jobs Act.” (You’ll notice this is not the same group of citizens that were standing behind Obama during his Rose Garden presentation.)
Apparently, the WH offered up this photo to broadcast Obama is more than aware of the raw frustrations, and far from ducking it, he’s take it headlong. Still though, with the Occupy movement providing the outlet for long bottled-up anger (primed right for the heart of Obama’s ’08 constituency), the wariness and abject skepticism on these faces — drifting into contempt from the Zebra lady and a half-turned back from the guy with the baby — makes running this photo clearly a gamble. At best, there’s perfect ambiguity here, between venting the pain, and being tagged as contributor.
(photo: Pete Souza/White House caption: President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden greet a group of teachers, veterans, first responders, and business owners in the Roosevelt Room of the White House before making a statement on the American Jobs Act, Sept. 12, 2011.)