What puff piece is that you ask?
Courtesy of HotAir, I was directed to this article on Politico by Carol Lee that is basically a pretty glowing picture of President Obama on assuming his role as Commander in Chief. It's actually a pretty good piece that shows Obama in good light, likely an image enhancer to bolster his ratings amongst independents and conservatives. I have seen different articles with differing viewpoints that speak of both Obama's respect for as well as contempt of the military, so I take both with a grain of salt and try to filter out the bias.
Unlike many conservatives, I do want Obama to succeed after all, at not driving our country off a cliff.
Anyway, I thought the article was a good one, and if it is true then it gives points in Obama's favor, with one exception to the opening, which somewhat invalidates the whole thing in a way:
Never a soldier himself, but suddenly their commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama wanted to learn the job from the ground up.
Including the salute.
Under the guidance of an expert, aides say Obama privately repeated his salute over and over again until he got it down. In a testament to how sensitive the White House is about the commander in chief practicing this basic military gesture, aides would not say who taught Obama how to salute. But every time he uses it, Obama is trying to convey an insider's respect for the armed forces without saying a word.
"That attention to detail, that focus on the outward manifestation of what we expect, is compelling," said retired Gen. Paul Eaton, who advised Obama during the presidential campaign. "Whoever worked with him on that did a pretty good job."
This article is accompanied by the following picture to demonstrate the President's attention to detail on performing this highly respected military custom.
Photo Credit to AP
The problem with that picture? It's not a very good depiction of a properly rendered Salute.
I'm sure if you google pic Salute and Obama, you could probably come up with a number of better examples of a Salute then that picture right there. I'm just staring at it right now and I can see four things wrong with it.
1. The tip of the right forefinger should be near and slightly to the right of the right eyebrow, barely touching. Obama's forefinger is to the left of the edge of the brow and pressing into his face cocking up his brow.
2. His fingers and thumbs should be extended and joined, palm facing down so neither the back of the hand nor the palm be visible from the front. Obama's thumb is not joined with his fingers. See the Officer before him to have an idea of how a salute should be rendered.
3. Hand and wrist should be straight, elbow inclined slightly forward, and upper arm horizontal. Obama's wrist is not straight (granted, the officer before him is not horizontal, but he's also in a dress uniform, which are notoriously difficult to salute in, so he get's a pass)
4. The salute is rendered from the position of attention, and marching is a modified version of the position of attention, the left hand should be relaxed to the side, fingers curled and arm relaxed to swing with the natural flow of the body. Obama's left arm is cocked into his chest with fingers extended.
Now granted, he is coming off a flight deck and probably moving with the flow of gravity which has him slightly off balance, which makes this probably a hastily rendered salute. That being said, if you are going to write a glowing article on how much attention to detail Obama places in rendering the hand salute, perhaps you should include a picture of him, well, properly rendering a hand salute. Each deficiency by itself is a minor thing, but all of them put together makes it come across as a person who doesn't know how to salute. Because otherwise, I'm going to take it as a fluff piece meant to bolster the president's image with the troop that has little merit to back it up.
Saluting is not a very difficult task. Give me ten minutes and I can teach anybody how to properly render a hand salute. If you can teach a Private, you can teach anybody.
So let's look at some other appropriate pictures of Obama saluting that might have worked better for this piece?
Actually, his salute is quite snappy here, all the deficiencies noted previously are corrected (save for his forefinger not touching his eyebrow). Other then that minor deficiency, this is a perfectly rendered hand Salute. His salute is actually better then the soldier beside him (wrist is canted instead of straight). However, this is a politically charged piece that has come under attack from Obama using dead soldiers for a photo op. Probably not wise to use it in that light.
From what I can view, another well rendered hand salute, aside from the closed eyes (caught in a blink by the cameras perhaps?) and the head tilted slightly forward. A well rendered salute, but not the best picture depicting it.
At his Inauguration. Not bad.
Ok, cheap shot on my part, but the President should at least have his hand on his heart for what I am assuming is the playing of the National Anthem. This is basic flag etiquette, and if he went through all the trouble of learning how to Salute soldiers as the piece suggests, he should know how to properly address our nation's flag during the national anthem.
Ok, definitely not. However, this was from Obama the Candidate, not Obama the President, so I'll give him this. His salute has definitely improved.
Learning how to Salute isn't hard, like I said, even a Private can do it. But if you are going to go into how much detail Obama puts into his Hand Salute, please show me an example of how awesome his hand salute is. Because I'm calling you blowing smoke up my ass.
Or maybe that's why the aid who showed him how to perform a Salute wishes to remain anonymous?