President Obama probably couldn't wait to get home yesterday after finishing up his five-day trip to Latin America. Since he's been gone, the war in Libya has become the least popular military intervention in nearly three decades, politicians from both parties are outraged, and past statements from Obama and Joe Biden about the legality of a president carrying out such strikes without Congress's approval have come back to haunt them. But when Obama finally arrived back at the White House yesterday, anxious to take a long soak in the tub and order his chef to make one of everything, he couldn't open the door. It was locked. Sound familiar? George W. Bush confronted a locked door of his own after a press conference in China in 2005. But Bush and Obama handled these unforeseen moments of door-related adversity much differently although, considering each presidents' personality, in completely predictable ways.
Here's Obama yesterday:
After his first attempt at entering the White House fails, Obama betrays nary a shred of surprise or alarm. He remains calm, continues whistling to emphasize just how unconcerned he is by this embarrassing turn of events, and walks over to another door, which is open. Cool as a cucumber the entire time.
Here's Bush, in 2005:
In contrast, Bush tries to save face by lightening the mood. Far from keeping his composure, he flashes a ridiculous Stooge-like expression for the giggling press corps, tugs hard on a different handle (also unsuccessfully), and then basically gives up until somebody points him toward the exit. Before leaving, Bush tries his hand at a charming, off-the-cuff joke, but it doesn't quite work. "I was trying to escape"? Heh, uh ... what?