A History of President Obama Pressing Two Fingers to His Lips

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Two fingers + lips = epic concentration. Photo: Jeff Haynes/Getty Images; Scott Olson/Getty Images; Bill Pugliano/Getty Images; Mario Tama/Getty Images/Getty Images

When he finds himself in deep thought, President Obama prefers to turn to the nearest window and stare out of it. But what if there are no windows to look through? What if he's onstage at a campaign event at the time, or sitting in an audience? If Obama finds himself in such a situation, he'll probably go for the next best option and press exactly two fingers to his lips. One finger would not adequately convey the gravity of the moment. Three would just look ridiculous.

US President Barack Obama listens as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (not pictured) speaks during meetings in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, May 28, 2009. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images) Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
CHICAGO - JUNE 20: Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, (D-IL) (R) listens to Democratic governor Janet Napolitano (L) of Arziona during a economic discussion June 20, 2008, at the Chicago History Museum in Chicago, Illinois. Obama and the governors met to discuss the impact the past eight-years on state budgets and solutions fro the future.(Photo by Jeff Haynes/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Barack Obama Photo: Jeff Haynes/Getty Images
Washington, UNITED STATES: US Senator Barack Obama, D-IL, listens as the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee asks questions of the 911 Commission members and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg 09 January 2007 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. US political darling Obama has received enthusiastic support for a possible 2008 presidential bid -- except from fellow African-Americans, a group many believed would be among his staunchest backers. In contrast to the effusive reception Obama has received from white Americans, many US blacks so far have been cool, saying that while they may share skin color with Obama, they do not have a common culture or history. AFP Photo/PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images) Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images
CHICAGO - JUNE 20: Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, (D-IL) (R) listens to Democratic governor Janet Napolitano (L) of Arziona during a economic discussion June 20, 2008, at the Chicago History Museum in Chicago, Illinois. Obama and the governors met to discuss the impact the past eight-years on state budgets and solutions fro the future.(Photo by Jeff Haynes/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Barack Obama Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Washington, UNITED STATES: US Senator Barack Obama, D-IL, listens as the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee asks questions of the 911 Commission members and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg 09 January 2007 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. US political darling Obama has received enthusiastic support for a possible 2008 presidential bid -- except from fellow African-Americans, a group many believed would be among his staunchest backers. In contrast to the effusive reception Obama has received from white Americans, many US blacks so far have been cool, saying that while they may share skin color with Obama, they do not have a common culture or history. AFP Photo/PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images) Photo: Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images
Washington, UNITED STATES: US Senator Barack Obama, D-IL, listens as the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee asks questions of the 911 Commission members and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg 09 January 2007 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. US political darling Obama has received enthusiastic support for a possible 2008 presidential bid -- except from fellow African-Americans, a group many believed would be among his staunchest backers. In contrast to the effusive reception Obama has received from white Americans, many US blacks so far have been cool, saying that while they may share skin color with Obama, they do not have a common culture or history. AFP Photo/PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images) Photo: Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US President Barack Obama listens as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (not pictured) speaks during meetings in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, May 28, 2009. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images) Photo: David Turner/epa/Corbis
CHICAGO - JUNE 20: Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, (D-IL) (R) listens to Democratic governor Janet Napolitano (L) of Arziona during a economic discussion June 20, 2008, at the Chicago History Museum in Chicago, Illinois. Obama and the governors met to discuss the impact the past eight-years on state budgets and solutions fro the future.(Photo by Jeff Haynes/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Barack Obama Photo: Jeff Haynes/Getty Images
Washington, UNITED STATES: US Senator Barack Obama, D-IL, listens as the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee asks questions of the 911 Commission members and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg 09 January 2007 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. US political darling Obama has received enthusiastic support for a possible 2008 presidential bid -- except from fellow African-Americans, a group many believed would be among his staunchest backers. In contrast to the effusive reception Obama has received from white Americans, many US blacks so far have been cool, saying that while they may share skin color with Obama, they do not have a common culture or history. AFP Photo/PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images) Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images
Washington, UNITED STATES: US Senator Barack Obama, D-IL, listens as the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee asks questions of the 911 Commission members and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg 09 January 2007 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. US political darling Obama has received enthusiastic support for a possible 2008 presidential bid -- except from fellow African-Americans, a group many believed would be among his staunchest backers. In contrast to the effusive reception Obama has received from white Americans, many US blacks so far have been cool, saying that while they may share skin color with Obama, they do not have a common culture or history. AFP Photo/PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images) Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
Washington, UNITED STATES: US Senator Barack Obama, D-IL, listens as the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee asks questions of the 911 Commission members and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg 09 January 2007 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. US political darling Obama has received enthusiastic support for a possible 2008 presidential bid -- except from fellow African-Americans, a group many believed would be among his staunchest backers. In contrast to the effusive reception Obama has received from white Americans, many US blacks so far have been cool, saying that while they may share skin color with Obama, they do not have a common culture or history. AFP Photo/PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images) Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images
Washington, UNITED STATES: US Senator Barack Obama, D-IL, listens as the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee asks questions of the 911 Commission members and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg 09 January 2007 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. US political darling Obama has received enthusiastic support for a possible 2008 presidential bid -- except from fellow African-Americans, a group many believed would be among his staunchest backers. In contrast to the effusive reception Obama has received from white Americans, many US blacks so far have been cool, saying that while they may share skin color with Obama, they do not have a common culture or history. AFP Photo/PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images) Photo: Ken Cedeno/Corbis
CHICAGO - APRIL 9: Presidential candidate Senator John Kerry (D-MA) (L) speaks at a job training center while candidate for the U.S. Senate Barack Obama (D-IL) listens April 9, 2004 in Chicago, Illinois. Kerry is finishing a two-day campaign swing through Illinois and Wisconsin. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images