Press goes wild over Obama's pecs

It would be embarrassing if we hadn't come to expect it by now.

More than a dozen photographs of a bathing suit-clad President-elect Barack Obama surfaced online Monday showing the shirtless Chicagoan accompanied by his wife, Michelle, and their two young daughters on the white-sand beach in front of their vacation home.

Reporters, photographers and television camera operators traveling with the Obamas have been banned by the Secret Service from approaching the oceanfront estate in nearby Kailua where the family is vacationing. But an enterprising paparazzi photographer wearing a Hawaiian shirt apparently strolled along the beach, saw the Obamas, took out his long-lens camera and started shooting.

The photographer was less than 200 feet from the Obamas, said Frank Griffin, co-owner of Bauer-Griffin, the California-based paparazzi agency that snapped the shots. But the Secret Service agents guarding the property did not ask the photographer to leave the beach.

You know any of those guys would have killed for a pic of the prez's pecs.

What's strange is that the Secret Service did nothing while this guy stood snapping photos of our president-elect's perfect pectorals:


There was tacit approval that he was able to shoot what he could shoot. It's a public beach," Griffin said in a telephone interview Monday with The Washington Post. He declined to identify the photographer, but said he is a contractor who lives in Hawaii and whose family has a house not far from the Obama's vacation property.

"The guy just walked along there. He had a camera in his hand. He wasn't hiding behind the bushes. He took some pictures. Everybody saw him. And then he walked off," Griffin said. "It was as simple as that."

Griffin added that the Secret Service "didn't seem to mind."

The official White House policy during the Kennedy Administration was that no pictures be taken of the kids. But JFK would thrust those kids forward at every opportunity knowing full well they were as good as gold politically.

Could Obama have called off the Secret Service so photos like this one could be taken? I wouldn't put it past him given the response.