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December 9, 2011

Heartland Hope and Motorcade Love: Osawatomie Through a White House Lens

Considering how Obama’s speech in Osawatomie was touted by the White House as a populist high water mark, the talk embracing many themes of the Occupy movement, it’s odd how the White House complements its “photo of the day” gallery with the image of “motorcade love,” the well meaning but door-locked President that remote and separated from “we, the people.”

Perhaps, with the people rising (try this on!), no politician can visually take the chance of getting too close to the public right now unless the setting or the shot is that controlled.

Along those lines, this second Osawatomie image from the White House – taken during the speech and accompany its blog post of the event – is much more strategic. In these days of brass tacks, Pete Souza’s lens isn’t looking for Kansans in the fold (just as he cuts off the African-American who, in any slight approbation, might suggest too much affinity, and in any slight distance, points to solidarity issues with a critical base.) No, the strategy here simply is to capture and demonstrate that those red state, bedrock, pearl white, family-oriented and God fearing citizens of the heartland are still willing to hear out (and even look to) the President despite of all the frustration and skepticism.

(photo: Pete Souza/White House caption 1: President Barack Obama waves to people gathered along the motorcade route from Osawatomie High School to Osawatomie-Paola Municipal Airport in Osawatomie, Kan., Dec. 6, 2011.) caption 2: Members of the audience listen as President Barack Obama delivers remarks at Osawatomie High School in Osawatomie, Kansas, Dec. 6, 2011.)


  • Gassho

    I agree. This top shot is awful. Not only is Obama “in the dark” — he’s in a limo waving out the window at New Orleans, uh, I mean, some regular people in Kansas.

    If this is being published by the White House, we know they haven’t been reading the ‘Bag or else they’d know better!

  • antpoppa

    The wizard of OS.

  • Pingback: The Osawatomie Coincidence | Congressman Tom Tancredo

  • Weldon Berger

    Michael, if you get a minute please check out this shot of Obama preparing for his weekly radio address in June of 2009. I’d be very interested in hearing your thoughts about it. I first saw it in one of the White House “photo of the day” emails they send out and I was really surprised that someone selected it for broad distribution.

    • Michael Shaw

      Weldon: there were many similar photos on the WH Flickr site right after Obama came into office and was knee-deep in the financial crisis. Our read, looking at these, in a BagNewsSalon on Obama’s first 100 days, was that they intended to show moral strength.

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