ABC Suggests Viewing Obama 'A Religious Experience'

On the Obama Messiah watch, in the last half-hour of ABC’s Good Morning America on Wednesday, anchor Chris Cuomo interviewed photographer Pete Souza who has a new book of Obama photographs. In addition to cooing over photos of the Obama daughters and Obama with the Kennedys, Cuomo highlighted photos of women looking adoringly at Obama: "And now, of course, the insight you're able to capture out on the trail. You say, it's so much like a religious experience for people as they meet him. Let's see the view that you get. Look at them with their hands clasped." Hallowed be thy name, Barack?

Souza described his images: "This is early on and you can just see the people are curious about him. This was in Springfield the day that he announced he was running for president. This was in South Carolina, a lot of curiosity early on, I think."

Before that, Cuomo saw "a continuum of leadership" from Abe Lincoln to Martin Luther King to Obama. Souza highlighted a rather pedestrian photo of Obama reading a magazine in his office, strangely touting his ability to relax. (Like so few Americans can?)

CUOMO: Now, you have a picture of Obama in his office that you believe is revealing beyond what we can just see. Let's take a look at that photo. Is he asleep there? What's going on?

SOUZA: No, he's reading a magazine but the context of the photo is important in that you see what he has on the wall behind him, a portrait of Thurgood Marshall, Abraham Lincoln on the left and on the far left from the march in Washington in 1963, so I like the context of the photo in his surroundings.

CUOMO: A continuum of leadership.

SOUZA: And shows you how relaxed a man he can be.

CUOMO: Right, that's what they're saying about him. He has a very calm demeanor.

Then came the Kennedys, and Cuomo (whose brother Andrew married and divorced Kerry Kennedy, one of Robert and Ethel Kennedy’s daughters) chatted like a family insider:

CUOMO: Now here at the convention, the Kennedy family, the senator, the lion of the Senate, has had a big impact here. You have a photo with Obama and Ethel Kennedy, who is of course Robert Kennedy's widow. Let's take a look at that, nice warm embrace. Ethel is a very warm loving person.

SOUZA: He was asked to give a keynote address at the RFK memorial on Capitol Hill and Ted Kennedy was standing beside me and said to Barack, "thanks so much for agreeing to do this speech." And Senator Obama replied "when Ethel calls, how can you say no?" And that's when she went over and gave him that hug.

CUOMO: She is tenacious, but so warm and loving.

It felt like a very warm Democratic family gathering at ABC, the supposedly nonpartisan news outlet. For the record, Souza has photographed leaders on both sides of the aisle: from 1983 to 1989, he was an official White House photographer for Ronald Reagan.

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