A photo of the tuxedoed president and vice president is inspiring as many tortured feats of interpretation from bloggers as a visit to the Louvre. It started when Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit pulled the photo from the White House Flickr page and urged readers to "analyze the body language." Stroking their chins pensively, pundits analyzed Obama's half-closed eyes, looking for clues of condescension, aggression, fatigue, or nonchalance. Was the White House unwise to publish the image? Below, a sample of the remarkable debate that's emerging over a seemingly innocuous picture.

  • Not a Coincidence "No," responds Glenn Reynolds to readers, "I don't think Obama's facial expression is just a fluke of when the shutter went off." He blows up the image to show that the president's eyes are, in fact, open.
  • Damaging--Why Was It Ever Published? "Personally," writes Clifton B at Another Black Conservative, "as a photographer this shot would have been in my discard pile." He thinks the "reduced size image makes Obama look sleepy or worse yet, tipsy." In the expanded version, "Obama looks like he has contempt for Biden ... This again reminds me of how this administration seems to have become oblivious to the images they project to the public."
  • 'Tired,' Not 'Cool' Ann Althouse seizes on one commenter comparing the president to James Bond. "People who like Obama," she says, "are blinded to the way other people see him. This picture strongly says cool to people who love him, but it doesn't read that way to others." To her, the picture says "tired." As a sidenote, she adds "Prediction (longshot): Obama will not run for reelection."
  • What's All the Fuss About? "I haven't yet seen any real explanation of how the photo is actually unflattering," writes Mike Potemra at the conservative National Review.
  • It's About Race, decides the Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan. "I realized why this photo immediately strikes some people are damning. Obama is a black man who looks as if he is condescending to a white man. That's political gold."
  • 'Raise Your Game,' Andrew, responds Glenn Reynolds testily, saying the racism charge is "the last refuge of the Obama fans these days ... And, of course, Andrew's still mad at me for calling him a bad writer."
  • Choose Your Caption! "I'm sure that all is well between [Obama and Biden]," writes an amused Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. "After all, what has Biden done that could have irritated his boss? Er, for that matter, what exactly has Biden done at all?" Suggesting readers "have a little fun with this," he invites them to leave possible captions in the comments section.