President Obama has probably put the Secret Service on this one, and the FBI, the CIA and the D.C. cops, too. Who came up with that really dumb idea of putting out an official White House photograph of the president stalking clay pigeons with his shotgun?
Maybe it was the campaign consultant who gave Michael Dukakis a ride in an Abrams tank. (Maggie Thatcher had taken a similar ride two years earlier and looked like George S. Patton.) Or the wizard who decked out John Kerry in a lab suit that gave him the appearance of a giant sperm. The dodo who did that could have been the campaign consultant who advised Jimmy Carter to tell the famous story of how he was attacked by a killer rabbit.
Whoever it was, he or she made it worse by accompanying the photograph with the stern warning that “this [photograph] may not be manipulated in any way.” This was similar to telling a four-year-old that he should “never try to put a pea up your nose.”
Some of the manipulated, or “Photoshopped” images on the Internet are hilariously telling. In one of them, the president fires his gun and a bouquet of petunias emerges from both barrels; in another, the president fires at the house where a celebrated terrorist was captured, over the caption: “the truth about how we got bin Laden.” In still another, he draws a bead on Bambi. Even Michelle and the girls may be laughing, but not as hard as the gun owners and Second Amendment fans to whom this moment in the president’s grand gun-rights offensive was aimed. If the idea was meant to show that the president is just one of the good ol’ boys, as comfortable with shotguns and clay pigeons as he practicing his three-point shot, the early and unanimous word is that the scheme went poof! Or maybe plouffe!
Indeed, the early speculation in the flackery shops in Washington was that David Plouffe, the political adviser who modestly identifies himself as the genius of the last two presidential elections, thought up the scheme and sold it to the president. Mr. Plouffe, not heretofore recognized as a wordsmith or coiner of memorable phrases, is leading the defense of the worst marketing idea since Coca-Cola came up with New Coke nearly two decades ago, only to concede three months later that New Coke was a colossal boo-boo. ...
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