Don’t expect media photos to give you the shirt off of President Barack Obama’s back during the first family’s Hawaiian vacation this time around. Because of the media shark frenzy over pictures of him body-surfing and emerging from the ocean (photo below) when he was president-elect in 2008, the White House gave the press pool traveling with the president this week stern marching orders: no long lenses or other attempts for sneaky peeks, according to Sheryl Gay Stolberg’s Political Caucus blog in The New York Times
“The subject of images of Mr. Obama sans shirt has been a touchy one during his presidency,” Stolberg writes, recalling 2008’s “Buff Bam is Hawaii hunk” headline in the New York Post, a perennial leader in over-the-top titles. Or the Washingtonian magazine’s rendition, crowing “Our new neighbor is hot,” as it did in connection with its cover story on reasons to live in D.C.
Thus, press photographers were out of the pool when the president, first lady Michelle, first daughters Malia and Sasha, and an assortment of friends went snorkeling at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve Tuesday.
Stolberg’s blog recalled that aides kept news photographers at bay during the first family’s trip to Florida’s Gulf Coast this year. At that time, the White House released an official photo of him swimming with daughter Sasha, but showed him only from the neck up.
“I’m not going to let you guys take a picture of me with my shirt off,’’ the president told reporters then.
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