Tales from the Trail

Is “shirtless cover” okay?

obamaparkWashingtonian is making the most of the buzz on its May issue with a shirtless President Obama on the cover.

Obama didn’t pose for the picture. It’s the same shirtless paparazzi photo taken  while he was on vacation in Hawaii in December.  But the magazine took some creative license and changed the color of his swim trunks from black to red.

The glossy magazine that bills itself as the guide to life, media, gossip and politics in Washington used the photo to illustrate its cover story “26 Reasons to Love Living Here” (he’s reason #2 – “Our New Neighbor is Hot,” according to the cover).

Now, Washingtonian is asking visitors to it  web site to weigh in on  what they think of the cover. So far among the responses, variations on inappropriate  and “tasteless” prevail.

“Tasteless! President Obama should be given the respect he deserves, instead of turning him into a bathing suit hot model,” wrote Sharon Okolicsanyi and a writer identified as Bernadette posted: “Tacky, tabloid-esque, inappropriate, and smutty. That’s what I think of this cover.”

Is honeymoon with Obama over already?

obama-boards-planeU.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s 12-day vacation in Hawaii exposed tensions with the media that presage a possible combative relationship between a Democratic Obama White House and mainstream U.S. news organizations, which were often accused by Republicans of being too soft on him during the election campaign.

In short, the media organizations are pushing for greater access. They were annoyed that he appeared in public places on several occasions during the holiday without his traveling media pool, which by long-standing agreement between successive White Houses and the major news organizations always shadows presidents and presidents-elect.

The Obama camp, in turn, appeared irritated by criticism by some media outlets that the president-elect had deliberately ditched the pool the day after Christmas, when he took his daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, to see a dolphin show. Aides said it was an honest mistake and blamed a breakdown in communication.