Obama Refused Selfies With U.S. Troops
Selfies are only on the Obama’s terms and only with people he deems acceptable to take one with. Only celebrities and prime ministers are good enough for a selfie with the president.
On a recent trip to Asia, President Obama was forced to confront some of the biggest issues of his presidency: rising Chinese aggression, climate change, a rocky global economy.
He also had to deal with a less weighty, but stubbornly persistent problem that has dogged him throughout his second term: the scourge of the selfie.
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He complained that patrons pestered him for a selfie at his hotel gym in Vietnam. On a sidewalk in Hanoi, his most enthusiastic admirers spun away from him so they could take a selfie shot with the president in the background.
No sooner had Obama arrived at a U.S. Marine Corps base in Iwakuni, Japan, than he felt compelled to issue an order to the cheering troops: He would shake hands, but no selfies. “Otherwise, I’ll be here all day,” he said.
Obama has complained — with increasing regularity during his final year in office — about the prevalence of the selfie and its intrusion on his personal space. But the president, who has leveraged his image as a tech-savvy and approachable leader to mobilize young voters, has not been willing or able — despite his ample executive powers — to contain the selfie explosion. No blanket selfie ban has been issued.
The upshot: Obama and the humble smartphone have forever altered one of the most iconic American moments. Never again will citizens interact with their president in quite the same way. #ThanksObama.
Before Obama even had a chance to fully develop and set a course on selfies, there were the mini-scandals. The first came in late 2013 when he attended a memorial ceremony for his longtime political hero Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg. At one pointduring the service, Obama squeezed together with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and British Prime Minister David Cameron for a smiling selfie taken with the Danish leader’s phone. More