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POLL: Was Obama 'Selfie' Inappropriate?

Photo taken at Mandela memorial service has created an uproar.

This official White House photo shows President Obama speaking with wife Michelle. Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt is shown in the background checking her phone. Credit: Official White House photo by Pete Souza
This official White House photo shows President Obama speaking with wife Michelle. Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt is shown in the background checking her phone. Credit: Official White House photo by Pete Souza

Was a photo taken by President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt inappropriate or just a case of three world leaders being human?

The "selfie" has created a storm of controversy on the internet, particularly on Twitter where the hashtag #ObamaSelfie has generated a flurry of tweets -- many of them highly critical of President Obama's decision to participate in the photo.

Hundreds of world leaders were present for Nelson Mandela's memorial service in Johannesburg earlier this week. During the service, Thorning-Schmidt appeared to have initiated the selfie, which shows her flanked by Cameron and Obama, all three wearing wide grins. 

The trio has been forced to defend their actions with Downing Street playing down the criticism. According to the Daily Mail, a spokesman for the British Prime Minister responded by saying, "I think what the PM would say about yesterday is it was very much a celebration of Nelson Mandela and his life and his achievements."

In the United States, the "selfie seen 'round the world" was countered with a White House release of 24 photos from the event -- none of which show the selfie or Obama's conversation with Thorning-Schmidt, though she is shown in the background of one of the photos.

As for the man who took the photo of the "selfie" moment -- Roberto Schmidt -- the Washington Post reports he defended the three saying, “At the time, I thought the world leaders were simply acting like human beings, like me and you. I doubt anyone could have remained totally stony faced for the duration of the ceremony, while tens of thousands of people were celebrating in the stadium. For me, the behaviour of these leaders in snapping a selfie seems perfectly natural.”

Was the "selfie" a perfectly natural activity at the memorial service or totally inappropriate? Leave a comment or vote in our poll. Note: This is not a scientific poll. It is for entertainment purposes only.

Frank Anastasia December 12, 2013 at 12:15 PM
obama is always about obama...no one else.
jMichael December 12, 2013 at 12:40 PM
It was entirely appropriate. How else could the FOX Noise machine, and talk radio, stay in business, given that they depend upon faux outrage, faux flag, faux cross, and faux news for their sum and substance. Obama, genuinely concerned for the health of these comedy outlets, tossed them an irresistible bone. They'll be twitching to chew on it until they've time to concoct some new outrage. Look for War on Easter Bunny, or War on Valentines Day to come soon. Maybe even Wars on Trailer Parks, Bowling Alleys, and Tammy Wynette. Oh. Wait. That last has already been used up. Guess they'll have to go with Nugent. Yeh. That'll do nicely. Stay tuned.
Kevin Epperson December 12, 2013 at 01:32 PM
Our Presidency has been turned into a mochery. There was a time that the leader of the free world would know how to conduct himself in different situations. Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush would have conducted themselves with class at such an important event. But, not this guy. We have elected him to do the job of a president, but he just wants to be a superstar. He has done nothing but damage the way the entire world looks at us. We have become a joke around the world!!! Jimmy Carter 2.0!!!!
Frank Anastasia December 12, 2013 at 02:55 PM
jMichael, You represent all that is wrong with this country. You voted for a pathological liar, a fraud, an ego maniac, like obama, then defend his horrible actions. This is a funeral for a hero to many, attended by thousands from around the world, and this self involved fool obama, acts like a child. But I guess if you were stupid enough to vote for this worthless, unqualified hack obama, you are stupid enough to think what he did was acceptable.
R T December 12, 2013 at 03:14 PM
Well, its pretty clear Michelle thought it inappropriate for him to go for the danish! Otherwise, Frank is RIGHT ON!!
Liz Kennedy (Editor) December 12, 2013 at 03:26 PM
Patchers, While we appreciate your taking the time to comment, please stay on topic and refrain from attacking other users who may disagree with your opinion. See our Terms of Use (http://www.patch.com/terms) if you have any questions. Liz Kennedy, Community Editor
jMichael December 12, 2013 at 03:58 PM
It's OK, Liz. Framk's rants are typically devoid of merit, and are utterly inconsequential.
Tracy Hubenthal Morrell December 12, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Nothing this president does is surprising... He definitely is all about himself, and no one else.
wkinnane December 12, 2013 at 04:44 PM
While I'm not sure whether it was appropriate it or not, I'm quite sure that it doesn't matter. I mean, leaning in as someone takes a picture seems considerably less embarrassing than going to war on false info, not knowing how to spell "potato", spying on the entire country, or not knowing that Africa is a continent. This, my friends, is the absolute least of our worries when it comes to politicians (on both sides).
Frank Anastasia December 12, 2013 at 05:05 PM
wkinnane....time for you to get your facts in order. Pres. Bush went on the intel he was receiving. That's all he can do. Leaders from all over the world were convinced Hussien had wmd's, so did John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and other democrats. Some say the wmd's were shipped to Syria prior to us going in, and now we see Syria using chemical weapons on their people. If Pres. Bush had done nothing, and a major city like New York or Chicago had a chemical weapon unleashed on it, the cry would have been Bush didn't do his job. Time for you on the left to wake up.
jMichael December 12, 2013 at 05:18 PM
Great observations, wkinnane. The facts, and your central point, are well made. Many thanks.
Harry Ball December 12, 2013 at 07:50 PM
Taking a "selfie" at a funeral is an act of a low class person.
Harry Ball December 12, 2013 at 07:55 PM
“If any other of our presidents had doubled the national debt, which had taken more than two centuries to accumulate­, in one year, would you have approved? If any other of our presidents had then proposed to double the debt again within 10 years, would you have approved? If any other of our presidents had criticized a state law that he admitted he never even read, would you think that he is just an ignorant hot head? If any other of our presidents joined the country of Mexico and sued a state in the United States to force that state to continue to allow illegal immigratio­n, would you question his patriotism and wonder who's side he was on? If any other of our presidents had pronounced the Marine Corps like Marine Corpse, would you think him an idiot? If any other of our presidents had signed a guest book May 24, 2008 when it was May 24, 2011 would have thought he was lost in space? If any other of our presidents had put 87,000 workers out of work by arbitraril­y placing a moratorium on offshore oil drilling on companies that have one of the best safety records of any industry because one foreign company had an accident, would you have agreed?
Harry Ball December 12, 2013 at 07:56 PM
“If any other of our presidents had been the first President to need a Teleprompt­er installed to be able to get through a press conference­, would you have laughed and said this is more proof of how inept he is on his own and is really controlled by smarter men behind the scenes? If any other of our presidents had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take his First Lady to a play in NYC, would you have approved? If any other of our presidents had reduced your retirement plan holdings of GM stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, would you have approved? If any other of our presidents had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved? If any other of our presidents had given Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and incorrectly formatted DVDs, when Gordon Brown had given him a thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have approved? If any other of our presidents had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought it a proud moment for America? If any other of our presidents had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia would you have approved? If any other of our presidents had visited Austria and made reference to the nonexistent "Austrian language," would you have brushed it off as a minor slip?”
Tammie Bradley Adams December 12, 2013 at 08:17 PM
Taking a "Selfie" at ANY age over 30 is immature...."upbeat funeral" or NOT. How immature and stupid can one man be???? What's sad even my lib. Friends agree with me 100%!!!
Octo Slash December 13, 2013 at 08:29 AM
OBAMA BEHAVES UN-PRESIDENTIALLY In other news, water is wet.
Frank Anastasia December 13, 2013 at 10:19 AM
Great post Harry..100% correct
janh999 December 17, 2013 at 07:55 AM
I cant believe some of the things he does and the press just looks the other way. Our family funerals are usually more of a celebration with laughter & fun remembering the person's life but I think a president & other world leaders should be held at a more dignified level considering they are in front of the press & the world. Gotta give him a thumbs up for at least not doing it in front of the casket.

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