Everyone expected President Barack Obama to button-down and get to work on the first day…but it turns out in this administration there were be fewer buttons:
CNN notes that in one of his first moves to dump a Bush rule, Obama has not just been (gasp!) photographed in his new office sans coat but that (double gasp!) this White House may be a place where it doesn’t look like an ad for the Mens’ Wearhouse. And it provides this White House official photo to prove it.
The fact that it’s an official photo says something as well. Presidents all want to carefully control how they wish to be perceived as much as they can, and nowhere do they have greater control over official photos. Clearly, this is an image Obama likes:
It’s the same Oval Office. The same desk. Even the same curtains. But President Obama has already made one major change: Go through eight years of White House photos, and you won’t find one of former President Bush in the Oval Office without his jacket on.
It wasn’t just a personal preference. In the Bush administration, it was a rule: Jackets in the Oval Office — and now, it seems, one of the first Bush-era regulations to get scrapped in the Obama White House.
The eagle-eyes at CNN are to be commended for spotting this seemingly minor detail. Why do images matter? Because imagery can help contribute to clout if job performance kicks in.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.