Speed-Dating With Barack Obama

by Ana Marie Cox And Jason Linkins

With the election over, here are The Guardian’s Ana Marie Cox and Huffington Post political reporter Jason Linkins to sift through the latest photos from the White House’s Flickr feed and help us anticipate what the Obama second term might have in store (spoiler: great jackets, Joe Biden hugs).

Jason: I was gonna start by pointing out that if there’s one picture that encapsulates why we have gotten four more years of scrutinizing the Obama/Biden/Souza administration, it’s this one.

Ana Marie: Oh. My. God.

Jason: This is like, the purest distillation of the Romney campaign.

Ana Marie: Mitt waving at people through a chain-link fence.

Jason: It’s the last picture uploaded to the campaign tumblr. “There’s barbed wire between me and these ‘supporters,’ right?”

Ana Marie: “Thank you for self-deporting! Sure wish I was a Latino!”


Ana Marie: “Unskew this fence!”

Jason: I am sure that, in the Romney administration, during times of great distress, the people would be allowed inside the fence, temporarily, as with traditional medieval liege-serf arrangements. “These are the people that mill my wheat! We must protect them from the bears!”

Ana Marie:: Not factored into Nate Silver’s algorithms: Number of people gathered in parking garages. THEY WERE NOT POLLED. Largely because they were in parking garages, for some reason.

Ana Marie: I feel like we could spend all day on this photo and not exhaust the comic possibilities.

Jason: For real! I mean, it is reported here that Mitt Romney experienced “emotion.” The robot boy had finally learned to feel.

Jason: President Barack Obama hosts mendicant Mitt Romney in the Oval Office.

Ana Marie: The hand Obama has in his pocket is giving Romney the finger.

Jason: Did you see the lunch menu? It was, essentially, Thanksgiving leftovers.

Ana Marie: Oh, I think Romney approved of using leftovers. He’s notoriously thrifty! I bet he asked for a doggie bag.

Ana Marie: And then Obama was all, “Better not forget it on the roof of your car!”


Ana Marie: I wish there was anything I could read into Mitt Romney’s face in that picture besides {{subroutine HANDSHAKE}}

Jason: This is a scene from the Fiscal Cliff Speed Dating sessions, in this case, meeting with “business leaders.” “The group includes Frank Blake of The Home Depot, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs Group, Joe Echeverria of Deloitte, Muhtar Kent of Coca-Cola and Marissa Mayer of Yahoo.”

Ana Marie: You know, regular folks.

Jason: Lloyd Blankfein is short for “middle class.”

Ana Marie: It’s just like actual speed dating — you feel awkward and lie about staying in touc — but there’s more casual sex.

Ana Marie: I think here’s a chance to peek inside the Mind of Joe Biden.

Jason: Yes, he seems to be distracted by something. Maybe he’s a bit adrift at the moment, because no one is hugging him?

Ana Marie: He’s plotting his next hug. “If I was president, shaking hands would just be for Bo. Hugs, man. Hugs are where it’s at.”

Jason: Best Vice President in the history of America.

Ana Marie: Obama already gave him that award. He changed the wording on a Microsoft Office template and added some smiley face stickers.

Ana Marie: Nothing really to say about this one except that is a super-fly leather jacket.

Jason: Oregon State gets to hang out with POTUS because his brother-in-law is their coach. All other college basketball teams have to win national championships.

Ana Marie: That’s good… but also that’s a dope jacket.

Jason: Yeah, that’s got swag. Maybe the “mom-jeans” presidency is over?

Ana Marie: Second-term Obama: Skinnier jeans, bigger balls.

Jason: It looks like we have a triptych of “Obama manages the Middle East crisis by phone: A study in body language.” “Mohammed. I know this running a whole country thing is hard. I know. Mohammed, stop panting.”

Ana Marie: “Calm the fuck down. Calm. The. Fuck. Down.”

Jason: “Mohammed, is it okay if I put you on speakerphone? And could you try not deflate everyone in the room?”

Ana Marie: “Use your ‘inside voice.’ We’re not in the middle of a public square.”

Jason: “No, no, no, Mohammed, I don’t want you calling Thomas Friedman for advice.”

Ana Marie: Covers mouthpiece with hand, whispers to the room: “I’m leader of the free world and I can’t get one lousy Times columnist fired. Jack, get on that! Ugh. Jesus.” Rolls eyes.

Jason: “Okay, guys, here’s the deal. We’re sending Hillary to the Middle East to get those assholes sorted. All I ask from the rest of you is that you get through the week without fucking your biographers. Christ.”

Ana Marie: For some reason, “You’re gonna get hop-ons” just popped into my head with that one. “Obama offers Clinton advice on her upcoming trip. ‘Watch out for hop-ons. You’re gonna get hop-ons.’”

Ana Marie: Ironically, this is also how Obama looked during most of the Middle East negotiations. “Everyone resisted the urge to talk about how Romney was a better flip-flopper than the whole team combined.”

Jason: Somewhere, someone is writing the dissertation about how Obama’s pop-cultural awareness was a tremendous asset to his campaign, right?

Ana Marie: Mr. President: All our meme belong to you.

Previously: Obama And Romney’s Flickr-War For Your Love (And Vote)