Political Animal


November 10, 2012 8:05 AM Morning Video

By Ryan Cooper

In case you haven’t seen it, I found this clip of the president losing his famous cool a little quite interesting:

Obama is often compared to Spock in his near-total unflappability. But stress, lack of sleep, and the emotional release of victory can erode that control and make a person expose their humanity a little.


Ryan Cooper is a National Correspondent at The Week, and a former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @ryanlcooper


  • Daryl Cobranchi on November 10, 2012 9:05 AM:

    Pon farr?

  • c u n d gulag on November 10, 2012 9:06 AM:

    This is the REAL Obama.

    Not the megalomanical, conniving Fascist madman, or the pathetic Socialist whimp, of Conservatives fertile minds.

    And his humility when he talks about his background, and his appreciation for the hard work of others, will be a large part of his legacy.

    And the organization that he led, and which hopefully future Democrats will build on, will be as much a part of his legacy, as was Nixon's "Southern Strategy," or Reagan's welcoming the Evangelical Dominionist Christians, into the party, and regional and national electoral process.

    Obama's, is a philosophy of inclusion.
    Nixon's and Reagan's, were ones of exclusion.
    "US, against THEM," has worked for the Republicans since Nixon's vaunted "Southern Strategy."
    But now, to their inexplicable amazement (the demographics have been going this way for decades), the "Them," outnumber the "Us." And what they need to realize is, that the Democratic coalition is the new "Us," and that leaves the white Conservatives, are the new "Them."

    And how Conservatives handle the fact that in today's U.S.A., and endless tomorrow's, the "Them" is now "Us," will speak to whether they exist in another decade or two, or splinter off into segregated minority parties.

    I want a rational Republican Party. We need Rebublicans. They're NOT always wrong - just always wrong lately. They WERE the ones who led the way on Civil Rights, before doing a suicidal U-turn.

    And, in fact, the Demcoratic Party is not just the party of Liberals, it's Democrats that are now also the Conservatives - in that we're trying to conserve the gains that have been made.

    Today's Republican Party is one of Nihilists, racists, misogynists, xenophobes, ageists, and/or homophobes.

    Now, not ALL Republicans are any, or all, of the above - it's that ALL OF THE ABOVE, are Republicans.

    Let's see what they do. It will be interesting, to say the least.
    Change, or whither, and die. Maybe there's some 'hope' that they'll 'change.'

  • castanea on November 10, 2012 9:08 AM:

    "stress, lack of sleep, and the emotional release of victory"

    Or maybe, just maybe, he was honestly touched by the magnitude of the events and the commitment of the folks who helped him get re-elected. One doesn't need stress, lack of sleep, etc., to reveal one's humanity.

  • jomo on November 10, 2012 9:17 AM:

    That this man has been the focal point for so much hate and derision makes me sad. History will judge us well for electing such a man to the presidency twice - but right now I feel we are only half a nation.

  • beejeez on November 10, 2012 9:25 AM:

    I wonder what the other side makes of images like this. Glad somebody was documenting it.

  • Bo on November 10, 2012 9:45 AM:

    When I watched this video, I realized once again how fortunate we are to have this man as President. After his remarks, he personally thanked and hugged each and every one of the 700 staffers gathered in that room.

    As for how the right-wingers are reacting to this video, most of what I have read has been derisive and belittling. That is to be expected since they have no appreciation of him, his policies or his humility.

    Their candidate was so confident of victory that he was having canapes with 700 black-tie and cocktail dressed folks who paid $1,000 a head to attend. He didn't even have a concession speech prepared. The arrogance and pomposity of Romney was as palpable on election night as it has been for the six years he's been running for the office. I don't ever want to see or hear of him again.

  • JR on November 10, 2012 10:23 AM:

    I was stunned by this shot. Not by the tears, but the President's down-to-earth nature... If I didn't know already, I'd have thought this was a beloved professor in front of his students. When was the last time we heard any President - hell, any politician - say "You are so much better than I was in so many ways"? He is neither a man of cheap words or cheap tears. Close friends had never seen him weep until a small celebration of his first book. While thanking his wife, tears began to flood his face and he could not speak. Michelle quietly took him to another room. This, folks, is the kind of person I want around in a crisis.

  • SecularAnimist on November 10, 2012 10:40 AM:

    Ryan Cooper wrote: "Obama is often compared to Spock in his near-total unflappability"


  • PTate in MN on November 10, 2012 11:17 AM:

    I found this authentic statement of gratitude and respect very moving.

    Not to kick a dog when it is down, but I imagine what Romney would have said in a similar situation, the glossy insincerity of the Bain CEO, and I just want to cringe.

  • Tigershark on November 10, 2012 12:42 PM:

    PTate: You don't have to imagine. The Bain CEO had the corporate credit cards immediately terminated. With no warning. Before staff could even go back to their hotels. Without a memo.

    The Private Equity way.

  • Robert Waldmann on November 10, 2012 2:45 PM:

    Kudos for the link. I've seen the video, as have many of your readers, but I think it is good to make sure as many as possible see it.

    One funny thing about my reaction to the film is the conditioned reflexes. I thought oh no he's pausing, then realized that hell he could take 10 minute pauses, it doesn't matter, he's just won the election. I thought uh oh tears might be considered unmanly and cast doubt on his leadership ability, then I realized (again in the same damn 2 minutes) that it didn't matter that night.

    On the whole, I found the film more than quite interesting. In fact, to be frank, I can't quite fully convince myself that it isn't the high point of human history so far.

    With exhaustion and the thrill of victory, knowing that he has reached the pinnacle of success for a politician, Obama let the nice guy mask slip. He revealed that, underneath there is uh a nicer guy.

    I mean wtf this man just said that a winning presidential campaign was important because it was a useful learning experience for the staff who will do really important things later. President re-elect Barack Hussein Obama, first Black President of the United States elected with a Moslem name less than 7 years and 2 months after 9/11/2001 just claimed that a whole bunch of other people are smarter and better organized than he is ?

    Superman leaps a building in a single bound then tells everyone on the other side that they could have leaped it in half a bound.

  • anon on November 11, 2012 12:19 AM:

    I loved the president's emotional honesty and genuine gratitude. Even in his exhaustion he displayed caring for the staff.
    Romney simply fired his staff at the end and expected them to pay the travel fare home.

  • GP on November 11, 2012 1:00 AM:

    It's not from lack of sleep. In fact, it's not an indication of any sort of induced weakness.

    This is honest and sincere appreciation. This is what must be said to a group of people who have accomplished something great and lasting. Bravo, Mr. President, for bowing to the people who made your success possible. Your humility and generosity is an inspiration.