Obama And Romney Turn To Instagram In Battle of White House Photo Worthiness

The Annotated White House Flickr Feed continues with another special Election 2012 edition (you’ll find the previous installment here). Here are The Guardian‘s Ana Marie Cox and Huffington Post political reporter Jason Linkins to compare the campaigns. When did the Romney team learn about Instagram? How long till they also hear about “autofocus”? How many windbreakers does Paul Ryan own? And who does John Sununu hate more: Barack Obama or Lena Dunham?

ANA MARIE: So, they’re INSTAGRAMMING or something now.

JASON: This image, is like at Ahmadinejad levels of obvious Photoshop fakeness.

ANA MARIE: Sort of like Romney’s tan.

JASON: The way they cut up and spread out the interior of this pavilion makes it look IMPOSSIBLE. Like the geometry described by those asylum night watchmen that are always going crazy in H.P. Lovecraft novels.

ANA MARIE: Maybe this is why their tax plan doesn’t add up?

JASON: It makes perfect sense to Shub-Niggurath!

ANA MARIE: You have to live in the interdimensions. BEYOND THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS.

ANA MARIE: More INSTAGRAMMING. Welcome to 2009, Mitt Romney campaign.
It looks a little like they’re doing a very tentative dance step. Like, “I’m going to try a dip, are you ready to dip? I PROMISE I WON’T DROP YOU. No, really.”

JASON: Romney is like, “Wow. That peach cobbler is really going to my head.” Turns out the secret ingredient is ecstasy.

ANA MARIE: Instagram lets Romney make photos look like they come from the era he thinks he’s campaigning in! You can use all the sepia tint you want, though, these people are still pretty white.

JASON: Honest question: does Paul Ryan not own another windbreaker?

ANA MARIE: THRIFTINESS. Probably owns ten of the same one, though.

JASON: I should have thought of that.

ANA MARIE: Not sure what the joke there is… he’s just a grim and merciless motherfucker, no time to shop for things that “different from one another.” Has the same view of policy: same Randian hammer for every fucking nail.

ANA MARIE: This just makes me sad. Gives me a sad so hard. And I’m just talking about their hair.

JASON: Yeah, I got that immediately. You don’t think puffy vests are going to make a comeback in the Romney administration, do you?

ANA MARIE: Well, with the oceans rising.

JASON: But Romney has such MOMENTUM.

ANA MARIE: He has two of these ladies feeling it!

JASON: Yeah, the David Freed lady is just, “Meh, whatever.”

ANA MARIE: Is it a Nevada thing I’m not getting? Mustaches for Mitt?

JASON: It’s the Nevada-UNLV football game. The mustaches are associated with the UNLV “Runnin’ Rebels.”

ANA MARIE: There is something really wrong here but I kind of like it.

ANA MARIE: Oh look, it’s the Solid Gold Dancers.

JASON: Those are some of the least R&B people I’ve ever seen.

ANA MARIE: Someone thought it was important to capture the presence of nuns.

JASON: This image shows a lot of diversity. Because there are some nuns, and there is also a guy with a soul patch.

ANA MARIE: Not a demographic that’s going to be swayed by that Lena Dunham video, I’m thinking. By which I mean, not the guy with the soul patch. The nuns may think twice.

JASON: Yeah. Though I think the Lena Dunham video is pitched directly at the obvious “head of your company’s HR department” that’s checking his iPhone in the argyles. You know, the Romney team still hasn’t mastered the idea that crowd shots are best when they capture people actually doing something exciting.

ANA MARIE: Speaking of which…

ANA MARIE: Here are some people praying.

JASON: Oh, that’s not prayer! That guy is a hypnotist and in a minute he’s gonna wake them all up and they’ll think they are giraffes!

And then Romney comes in with his “Are the trees too high? Or are they just the right height?”
It kills.

ANA MARIE: Whatever you do, don’t make them think they’re black! Because then they’ll vote for Obama, which is what black people do. Because they’re black.

JASON: I want someone to hypnotize John Sununu into thinking he’s black. That would be hysterical. Or Jamie Foxx and John Sununu could star in some Freaky Friday shit.

ANA MARIE: If Sununu was black, now THEN you’d see some voter intimidation. John Sununu thinks the Black Panthers bully white people into voting for Obama because that’s what HE would do.

JASON: LOL. John Sununu would be a great white version of Madea.

ANA MARIE: The only way you could make John Sununu more unattractive would be to make him into John Tyler Sununu Perry.

ANA MARIE: This is either S.E. Cupp or Lisa Loeb. Either way, someone left a napkin on the couch.

JASON: Again, Pete Souza is DYING inside, thinking that he could be replaced by whoever is talking these pictures.

ANA MARIE: “Just… focus? Could you learn to focus? I will teach you! Composition can come later!”

JASON: Souza would never allow that napkin to be in the shot.

ANA MARIE: Souza would never allow anything in that picture. That picture would be obscured by blood drawn by Souza’s own hand before he’d allow that to be shown to anyone.


JASON: But they were so excited a minute ago?

ANA MARIE: “Let’s just watch teevee.”

JASON: Romney and that woman are having a “pretend we are in the crowd at a Romney event” contest.

ANA MARIE: I get this “we’ve been having an affair for so long it’s as boring as our marriages” vibe from those pictures.

JASON: Yeah, this is sort of ICE STORMY.

ANA MARIE: Right? Right down to the armchairs.

ANA MARIE: OMG HOSTAGE VIDEO! Seriously, I don’t want to make “future spree killer” jokes but FUTURE SPREE KILLER.

JASON: Yeah, I think that guy pretty much lives in a found footage horror movie.

ANA MARIE: “Hello, Paranormal Activity 5 casting? I have found your plot and star for you.”

JASON: Let’s do some photos from the Obama campaign photostream.

ANA MARIE: I’m going to warn you now: I’ve paged through these a little and there are quite a few shots of a teary Joe Biden hugging people. Which I imagine is just what every day is like for him, now.

ANA MARIE: This sort of sums up the different approaches the two campaigns seem to be taking to their Flickr feeds. Romney: “PEOPLE ARE EXCITED ABOUT US, REALLY.” Obama: “Here’s some cool shit. Enjoy.”

JASON: Yeah, I think Obama campaign understands that even if they don’t win, that doesn’t mean they can’t provide Jeff Tweedy with some great album covers.

ANA MARIE: Well, if all we get out of an Obama loss is a heart-wrenching new album from The National, at least I’ll be able to mourn to a good soundtrack.


ANA MARIE: Man, all the great work the despairing pro-Obama musicians could produce… versus, what, Kid Rock crying?

JASON: This campaign is basically BLOODBUZZ, OHIO.

ANA MARIE: “I still owe money to the money to the money I owe.”

JASON: I will be wearing my Bloodbuzz Ohio shirt on election night. There’s no better crash years anthem than that.

ANA MARIE: I do sort of love that The National campaigns for Obama, because their stuff really gets people hopeful, right?


ANA MARIE: They play music like he’s already lost.

JASON: They play music like everyone’s already lost.

ANA MARIE: I do love the massive “indie rockers for Obama” movement. Mac McCaughan is basically meeting with Axelrod daily at this point.

JASON: Sadly, I think Obama lost Conor Oberst. Though Oberst is kind of the Buzz Bissinger of indie rock.

ANA MARIE: “Horses and Bayonets” is a clear play for the Decemberists.


JASON: This is another Obama basketball photo that doesn’t present his game in the best light. Pretty daring thing to do to a guy who has got aerial combat drones at his beck and call.

ANA MARIE: I suspect campaign/administration coordination. This is Souzian.

JASON: Yep. Reflections. But Souza would have gotten them into a better composition. This would have looked like RESERVOIR DOGS or something.

ANA MARIE: Again, an instructive photo for the Romney campaign. AND THAT GUY, I LIKE that guy…

ANA MARIE: …because here he is again.

JASON: Yes. It’s like the secret to this sort of photography is to wait until people are actually doing something to take their picture. And focus the shot, get it in the proper light, remove stray pieces of trash…

ANA MARIE: FOCUS. JUST FUCKING FOCUS. There are cameras that do that automatically now?

ANA MARIE: And THIS is how you do a poignant minority supporter shot, Mitt Romney Campaign. First: he is holding a flag, not a homemade hostage message. Second, there is light in his eyes as opposed to being dead inside.

JASON: Could he be actually eating the flag? It’s ambiguous.

ANA MARIE: He, like Lena Dunham, wants America INSIDE HIM.

JASON: Now matter how you look at it, this picture is trolling John Sununu pretty hard.

ANA MARIE: Basically Obama’s existence is a massive Sununu troll.

ANA MARIE: Obama seems like he’s laughing at private joke of some kind.

JASON: Hopefully it’s not about these ladies’ “first time.” By which I mean “fucking.”

ANA MARIE: I was going to go there, too. Hard not to!

JASON: Sex jokes make Erick Erickson cry. Only because he’s never properly brought his wife to orgasm.

ANA MARIE: OMG, I loved his tweet about the Dunham ad. What was it? Something about a fallen planet, doomed to fire? I SAW THAT MOVIE.