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Obama showed his (hidden) off-the-cuff schmoozer side with selfie

The selfie seen round the world — namely President Obama with Danish and British leader pals — is still attracting a certain amount of scorn for unbecoming behavior at a funeral. And when you first glance at the photo that shows Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt taking, with her smartphone, a picture of herself with British Prime Minister David Cameron on one side and Obama on the other (Wow! How did girlfriend grab that seat?) clad in their funereal black attire  and grinning, it is a bit surprising. After all, they’re at a funeral.

But this was hardly a somber funeral in a cathedral. This was an hours-long funeral/tribute/homage to Nelson Mandela, with singing and dancing in a stadium.

And everyone is so busy trying to judge whether three world leaders — particularly Obama, first among equals — were acting appropriately that they’ve missed the real takeaway.

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This was a fascinating glimpse of Obama — famous for not being an off-the-cuff schmoozer — and two other world leaders acting like goofy high school kids for just a minute. Putting their heads together, squeezing into the shot, smiling. Click. One spontaneous, un-orchestrated, even mischievous photo-op in three peoples’ lives that are otherwise filled with meticulously planned photo-ops.

Of course, the unexplained element here is Michelle Obama, poker-faced, looking away one moment, then back at the incorrigible threesome. Is she giving her husband the side-eye? Maybe. And it only ramps up our ruminations when we see that the Danish prime minister is a striking blond.

However, according to the Agence France-Presse photographer who snapped the photos, just minutes before, Michelle Obama had been joking with the group.

But so what if she’s giving him a bit of an attitude? They’re married. They’re allowed. That doesn’t make her an angry black woman. It makes her a first lady looking out for her husband’s image.

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As for the selfie itself, frankly, I think, Nelson Mandela would have been charmed by it.


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