The photographer who snapped the picture of President Barack Obama taking a “selfie” at the memorial for former South African President Nelson Mandela said Wednesday that there was nothing wrong with what the president did, and it seemed “perfectly natural” because of the festive atmosphere at the service.More pics, along with some commentary that I largely agree with.
“For me, the behavior of these leaders in snapping a selfie seems perfectly natural,” AFP photographer Roberto Schmidt wrote in a blog post.
Obama, who was photographed grinning for the selfie with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt during the memorial service Tuesday, has been slammed by some on the right for what they consider inappropriate behavior during a memorial service. Rush Limbaugh, for instance, said Tuesday that Obama was “thinking about himself.”
But Schmidt dismissed these attacks and said he didn’t think about the impact his own photo would have.
“At the time, I thought the world leaders were simply acting like human beings, like me and you,” the photographer wrote, describing the huge crowd as celebratory, rather than mournful. “I see nothing to complain about and probably would have done the same in their place.”
He also sought to dispel social media commentary that first lady Michelle Obama “seemed to be rather peeved” with Thorning-Schmidt because of her expression and glaring eyes in the photo.
“Photos can lie,” the photographer wrote, who noted first lady Michelle Obama was joking herself moments earlier with the leaders and others around her. “Her stern look was captured by chance.”
Cameron also addressed the selfie on Wednesday, saying it was initiated by Thorning-Schmidt.
“When a member of the Kinnock family asked me for a photograph, I thought it was only polite to say yes,” Cameron said, as quoted by Huffington Post, which notes the Danish prime minister is the daughter-in-law of former U.K. Labour leader, Neil Kinnock.
So yeah, move right along. Nothing to see here. Actually...
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz walked out of the memorial service for Nelson Mandela during Cuban President Raul Castro’s speech, according to reports.Staging a "walkout" in advance, and having your staff send out a press release explaing that "walkout". Classy. Gotta hand it to Ted Cruz. The man can never resist an opportunity to make everything (even a memorial service!) about himself.
“Sen. Cruz very much hopes that Castro learns the lessons of Nelson Mandela,” said a Cruz spokeswoman, as quoted by ABC News. “For decades, Castro has wrongly imprisoned and tortured countless innocents. Just as Mandela was released after 27 years in prison, Castro should finally release his political prisoners. He should hold free elections, and once and for all, set the Cuban people free.”
The Texas senator, who is of Cuban descent, was part of a congressional delegation that traveled to South Africa for the memorial service on Tuesday.