This is President Obama as we have never seen him before – caught unaware as he walks out of the Oval Office by none other than Spider-Man – or at least a very mini version of Spider-Man.
The intimate photograph taken by White House photographer Pete Souza shows the President joking around with one of this staffer’s children, who – dressed up as the super hero – pretends to shoot a spider web at Obama – who in turn reacts by pretending he is caught up in the imaginary trap.
It is just one of the many behind-the-scenes pictures Mr Souza takes every year which show a more down-to-earth and touching side of the man who has just been named as TIME’s Person of the Year for 2012. It is the second time he has had the honor in four years.
Other pictures released by Souza, some of which have been seen before, show the President enjoying touching moments with his family – a loving father hugging his daughters Malia and Sasha at this year’s DNC, an affectionate husband pulling his First Lady Michelle tight as they watch a sunset over Chicago city skyline at Lake Michigan and as a big kid running around a swimming pool with a large water gun while daughter Sasha squirts water at him.
We also see a happy but exhausted Obama as he pulls off his bow tie in the mirror of the elevator to the Private Residence of the White House after a long day which included being sworn in as President in January 2009, followed by ten inaugural balls.
The sports-loving President is also seen practicing his golf swing with Vice President Joe Biden on the White House putting green, standing in as coach for his daughter Sasha’s basketball team and clutching one of his favorite American footballs as he listens intently during a White House briefing.
TIME magazine cited the president’s historic re-election last month as symbolic of the nation’s changing demographics amid the backdrop of high unemployment and other challenges.
‘He’s basically the beneficiary and the author of a kind of new America – a new demographic, a new cultural America that he is now the symbol of,’ TIME editor Rick Stengel said as he announced the choice on the Today show on Wednesday.
‘He won re-election despite a higher unemployment rate than anybody’s had to face in basically 70 years. He’s the first Democrat to actually win two consecutive terms with over 50 per cent of the vote. That’s something we haven’t seen since Franklin Delano Roosevelt.’
The ‘Person of the Year’ accolade is given to the person or thing that has most influenced the culture and news throughout the year for good or for ill.
In its latest edition and cover story, TIME explained its decision to name Obama as the winner.
‘We are in the midst of historic cultural and demographic changes, and Barack Obama is both the symbol and in some ways the architect of this new America,’ the editors wrote.
‘In 2012, he found and forged a new majority, turned weakness into opportunity and sought, amid great adversity, to create a more perfect union.’
In a cover story for the edition, TIME’s White House correspondent Michael Scherer explained the ‘Obama effect’.
‘It could be measured – in wars stopped and started; industries saved, restructured or re-regulated; tax cuts extended; debt levels inflated; terrorists killed; the health-insurance system reimagined; and gay service members who could walk in uniform with their partners,’ he wrote.
Scherer added that after this year’s election, Obama started working on a ‘40,000-foot’ list of issues to tackle in his second term in the White House.
The list included climate change, the soaring cost of college, electoral reform and prison reform.
Scherer also spoke about his personal attributes – and how Republicans struggled to be negative against him.
‘There was almost nothing that would stick to this guy, because they just liked him personally,’ Romney deputy campaign manager Katie Packer Gage told the magazine.
Sasha spies on her father in the Oval Office, left, and right, President Obama plays with Sasha and Malia in the snow
President Obama goes fishing in Montana, pictured left, and pictured right, he tries out the fly fishing rod given to him on his birthday by a group of avid fisherman on his staff
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