CBS Gushes Over ‘Beautiful,’ ‘Fantastic’ Book of Obama Pictures

Barack Obama’s official photographer has released a new book of pictures and the co-hosts of CBS This Morning on Monday, unsurprisingly, went nuts for it. Norah O’Donnell deemed it “beautiful.” Charlie Rose hailed the “fantastic” cover photo of the ex-President. This comes only a few weeks of a photo book on Michelle Obama. ABC deemed that “picture perfect.” 

Regarding the new book by Pete Souza, Obama: An Intimate Portrait, O’Donnell enthused, “It's a beautiful book. It’s really well done.... You were a constant presence and chronicler of history.” 

 

 

Rose held up the book’s cover and hailed: 

This is as good of a picture as I've ever seen of the President.... That’s a fantastic photograph. Do you have one that you think identifies or sort of  portrays the President than any other single photograph here that captures him? 

King promoted photographer Souza’s new hobby, bashing Trump: “You've taken a more visible role and on Instagram I've  noticed. In the words of some young people, you troll President Trump.” 

On October 17, ABC’s Nightline promoted the new “picture perfect” photo book of Michelle Obama. 

A transcript is below:     

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CBS This Morning
11/6/17
8:42:55 to 8:49:29 

NORAH O’DONNELL: Over the course of eight years, President Obama was shadowed by former White House photographer Pete Souza. His photos captured nearly every moment during the 44th president's two terms. He sometimes took 2,000 photos a day. His new book Obama: An Intimate Portrait features more than 300 photos. He takes readers behind the scenes with President Obama. Pete Souza, good morning.  

PETE SOUZA: Thanks for having me. 

O’DONNELL: It's a beautiful book. It’s really well done. I love the forward by the former President who said “I probably spent more time with Pete Souza with anybody other than my family in the eight years in the White House.” You were a constant presence and chronicler of history.     

SOUZA: I was. It was a great privilege to do this job. I felt fortunate that I had the opportunity. 

CHARLIE ROSE: [Holds up book cover of smiling Obama.] This is as good of a picture as I've ever seen of the President. 

GAYLE KING: I do too. 

ROSE: That’s a fantastic photograph. Do you have one that you think identifies or sort of  portrays the President than any other single photograph here that captures him? 

ROSE: You know, I saw him in so many walks of life that it's hard to choose any one. Certainly, some of the one of him interacting with kids or with his family, but also the more weighty pictures of him in the situation room during the bin Laden raid. So there's —  I think the pictures together tell you the most about him than any one picture can. 

KING: You certainly got to see the variety of him. You got to see his sense of humor. I love the one, page 102, with his foot on the scale of someone who works with him. He was clearly playing a joke on the guy and everyone was in on the joke. 

SOUZA: Yeah. Marvin Nicholson was checking his weight because he had been trying to lose some weight. And he kept sliding the scale to the right and unbeknownst to him the President's got his toe on the scale. 

KING: I thought that was funny. You got hecklers on stage. I thought that was interesting. That here the President is speaking and he’s heckled. But he calls the hecklers back stage. Secret Service must have freaked about that. 

SOUZA: It was an immigration policy speech and there were two guys heckling him during his speech and he said, “Let me finish my speech and afterward you can come back stage and I'll have a private conversation with you.” And that’s exactly what he did. 

KING: And you see the Secret Service agent there. 

O’DONNELL: Were there ever moments — and I know the President praised you for being almost invisible — He didn't know sometimes you were in the room. Were there every moments where you thought this is too personal, I shouldn't be here or there shouldn't be a photograph of this moment? 

SOUZA: Not when it came to moments of history. With moments with the family, yes. I would try to give him space. Moments of history, I felt I'm the guy that needs to be there for everything that happens, so —  in those cases no. 

ROSE: Jim Baker has said about being Secretary of State, you really have to have the complete trust of the President. Is the same thing true about photography? 

SOUZA: Same thing. Yes. 

ROSE: You really have to have that relationship? 

SOUZA: Absolutely. And I think — 

ROSE: How do you earn that? 

SOUZA: I think you earn that over time. I had known him for four years before I he became president, I had already established a relationship with him. So, coming in, I already knew him. That helps. But then over time, you just have to earn that trust day in and day out. 

O’DONNELL: One of the most famous photos that I know is displayed in the White House was of a young boy touching President Obama's hair. 

KING: My favorite photo is that one. That photo became so iconic because why? 

SOUZA: I think for two reasons. One, the little boy's name is Jacob Philadelphia. He's touching the man who's the president and he looks like him. But it alslso tells you something about President Obama where he would be willing to bend over like that and let a 4-year-old just touch his head. 

O’DONNELL: Didn’t he say of the President, “Your hair is just like mine.” 

KING: Your hair is just like mine. That’s why I think that photo is so beautiful. And you said of all your pictures,, that one stayed up the longest. Normally, you take them down and recycle them and that kept coming back because people wanted to see that. 

SOUZA: We took it down at one point and I had individual staff members come into my office asking me to put it back up. 

KING: I love all the pictures of the President with children, him with his super soaker gun. We have a picture. That's a very private moment. He's clearly with a family. I think it was at Camp David. 

SOUZA: That’s at Camp David. Squirting Sasha on her birthday weekend. 

ROSE: What was it like to be there in the situation room when they're watching the Obama — Osama bin Laden raid? 

SOUZA: The thing I like to tell people about that photograph is you have the most powerful people in the federal government watching this unfolding and really there's nothing they can do. They already made their decision and it's up to the guys on the ground and that leads to the anxiety on their faces. 

KING: But I love the back  story you told about that, Pete. They said, you need to be here at such-and-such time. You didn't know what was going to happen. You said it was a very small room. I have to get in a corner and just stay. And you were trying to figure out which corner should I be in? 

ROSE: Who tells you that? The chief of staff? 

SOUZA: No. I had about a week's notice that something would be unfolding. It was someone in John Brennan's office that alerted me. So, I knew it was going to be on that Sunday. It was actually all day. It wasn't one 40-minute meeting in that little room. There were meetings throughout the day. 

KING: What's your takeaway as the man who knew him before he’s president, while he was president and then after? What's your takeaway of Barack Obama? 

SOUZA: My takeaway was when I first met him his first day in the Senate in 2005. That was the first time I ever met him. I obviously still know him today. I don't think the core of his character has changed one iota, I really don't. 

ROSE: What's the essence of taking a good picture? 

SOUZA: It's capturing a moment, but accurately portraying the mood and emotion that's taking place. 

ROSE: Seeing it coming. 

SOUZA: Yes. 

O’DONNELL:  You were invisible in some ways as the President says, before. But now you've taken a more visible role and on Instagram I’ve  noticed, in the words of some young people, you troll President Trump. Why? 

SOUZA: I mean I think the -- the photographs that I post on Instagram now and the words that I write, I think, speak for themselves. 

KING: All right. Pete Souza. Thank you very much. 


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