Obama Image Machine Whirs

WASHINGTON (April 1, 2013)--A photo of the Obamas hugging that was released on Election Day has become the world's most popular tweet on Twitter, while a video of President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech, dressed up with charts and graphs, is huge on YouTube, and a playful picture of the president cavorting with a 3-year-old in a Spiderman costume is a favorite online.

They’re all courtesy of the Obama image machine, casting the president as commanding and compassionate.

In this world, Mr. Obama's family is always photogenic, first dog Bo is always well-behaved and the vegetables in the South Lawn kitchen garden always seem succulent.

The Obama White House is generating its own content like no president before.

At the same time, it is limiting press access in ways that past administrations wouldn't have dared.

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