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Two presidents visit U.S. troops: The styles of Barack Obama and George W. Bush in photos

President Obama made his first trip as chief executive to Afghanistan over the weekend to, among other things, visit troops close to Kabul. He spoke to them at Bagram Airfield and we had the full text right here.

The White House released this picture by official White House photographer Pete Souza, showing the president shaking hands and grabbing a soldier's finger, and the troops' reactions.

Democrat president Barack Obama shakes hands with US troops in Afghanistan 3-18-10

The picture below was taken by official White House photographer Eric Draper of another president, George W. Bush, visiting U.S. troops in South Korea and their reactions.

Republican president George W Bush visits U S Troops in South Korea

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Comments () | Archives (59)

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Not a day goes by that my contempt for Obama does not grow.

Is he on a catwalk?

I'm not sure which is the bigger joke: this article or the people trying to draw conclusions about presidencies from two random pictures. Gee, let me take a stab at this. Look how Obama is trying to cross that fence to shake hands...he must really love the troops. And in Bush's photo...I'm sure they're rushing to thank him for being so brave by protecting the state line of Texas from the Viet Cong....oh wait...he went AWOL for most of it. I wonder how they would react to Dick "Five deferrment" Cheney. Get a grip, people!

Actually, the Obama photo looks like he is 'shaking hands' with the backdrop people he normally props up behind him.

If you look to the left, you see the podium, speakers and lights facing the opposite direction.

Keith M -- You can see the whole series here:

Which photo is better than that AM picked? The Afghani soldier goose-stepping up to the podium? President Karzai passing the naan to Obama?

I heard a commentary mentioning that the visit was an insult to the troops because BHO snuck in under the cover of darkness and only stayed a few hours giving the impression that he didn't trust the security provided. The commentary thought it would have been much better had he showed up in daylight. Interesting perspective.

President Obama has smiles and hand shakers just like the other goob. He's rubbing the top of someones head. Is he petting him?
The other arms you see stretched out are holding a video camera and one in the far back isn't even looking his way--he's not reaching for his hand. Only one person is doing that.
Like one photograph really tells the story.
No, the story is Obama is actually a president who keeps a promise.
I have served in military. Obama is in favor of our service members LIVING NOT DYING. He is in favor of ending something that should have never started. Fighting is painful and hard and seperates and divides--children from mothers and father, parents from their children, spouses and people of nations.
Thank you president for trying to unify our country, our country with other countries who despise us and thank you for caring for the millions and millions of middle class Americans who work hard and who are trapped in the middle.
Making too much to get things for free--and don't want free-- and not enough to afford sleep well at night.

Lets not forget the VERY few times Obama went to Walter Reed to see the wounded soldiers... ALWAYS for a photo-op.

Compare that to the hundreds of times GWB went WITHOUT the press entourage.

One's a real man, and the other is an opportunistic punk

it took only two seconds in google images to find similar photos of Obama being treated like a rockstar by the troops. In fact, one ABC news photo is accompanied by the lead reading, "President Obama was greeted today like a rock star by US troops in Iraq."

Gee, Andrew, you don't believe in doing much research, do you?

(AM responds: Ah, well, you see what you want to see. The point, as explained in the words of the item, was to show how each different White House wanted its boss portrayed. Both of these are the official White House photos released after the visits. And we presented them for readers to decide for themselves. You sound pretty defensive for some reason. Thanks for looking at the photos anyway.)

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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