For all the hype over the first family's effort last weekend to promote the Gulf Coast during a brief vacation in Florida, the White House picked some odd pictures to bolster the president's call to other vacationers to visit the area. [See photos of the Obamas behind the scenes.]
After some debate about keeping cameras away from President Obama so that they couldn't capture a picture of him shirtless, the White House did release two photos over the weekend that didn't really capture just how clean the beaches of the Florida Gulf coast are.
One showed Obama neck-deep in water swimming with his youngest daughter, Sasha. That photo has raised media questions about whether he was even technically in Gulf waters, though that should be irrelevant because the oil spill has reached far into tributaries and swamps off the Gulf. London's Independent reported that the waters the Obamas were shown swimming in were taken off Alligator Point in St. Andrew Bay, in northwest Florida, which isn't technically in the Gulf. [See photos of the Gulf oil spill.]
The second picture, sent to those who've signed up for the "Daily Snapshot" E-mail from the White House, didn't show water, sand, or faces. It is the kind of photo typical of a wedding album showing only Obama's hand nuzzling Michelle Obama's on a railing. The cutline to that picture reads, "The hands of President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama rest on the railing of a boat as they tour St. Andrews Bay in Panama city Beach, Fla., Sunday. August 15, 2010."
The trip raised a stink among White House photographers who had hoped to capture the president in the waters or walking on the beaches. The release of the two pictures by the official White House photographer did little to settle the anger, and some organizations like the Associated Press even refused to distribute the pictures.
Official White House photos by Pete Souza.