Election 2008

Obama and the Autograph Seeker

Al Wittnebert, CFO of the Universal Autograph Collectors Club, says a code of honor governs people who seek signatures and pictures from the famous. Today, we asked to consider the incident in the clip above. It shows a man asking — perhaps insisting — that Sen. Barack Obama pose for a picture.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Geez, Obama's way too cool. Right.

Sent by buzz | 11:48 AM | 4-8-2008

While I'm not a fan of Obama, I understand the political predicament of some stranger off of the street. This guy could be some flat-earther, White supremacist, or some other figure of marginal social acceptability. He has his picture taken with him, and it's frozen in time for all the world to see. That could end your career. That's why campaign staffers (if they're doing their jobs) vet potential photo-op participants.

Sent by Matthew Scallon | 12:42 PM | 4-8-2008

Obama should have said "Well sorry I can't, because I make a general rule not to and I can't make exceptions. And to be honest, I am little concerned about things ending up on ebay."

Classier way of dealing with the situation that simply quipping "You're an ebay guy and I know it." (How did he know it?)

Also Obama should not have caved in at the end. Because now people are thinking, well why didn't Obama just take a photo (not smiling or whatever) in the first place and avoid the argument all together.

But the most important issue from the video isn't pics and ebay... the bigger issue is....

Why oh why didn't Obama or a staffer have a bag if the candidate knew he was going to be shopping? That was one plastic bag that was not necessary.

Sent by Brian | 1:33 PM | 4-8-2008

Dear Brian,

I've learned my lesson about taking "severe left turns" in threads, so I'm going to leave the plastic bag issue to someone else.

I don't know if you listened to the on-air piece, but Alison said this guy is well-known as a collector. That's probably how he knew.

As to why he finally caved in, the answer's simple: because he's human. At the risk of sounding like a preacher, Jesus told a parable about a widow who kept after a corrupt judge who refused to grant her justice and, though he was corrupt, finally caved in. Now, before I get some net nastiness, no, I'm not calling Obama corrupt. What I'm saying is that this parable is a lesson in human nature, that persistance does pay off. This guy was persistant, and it paid off for him.

Are people thinking that Obama should have just taken the photo in the first place? I'm not thinking it. I don't even support Obama, and I'm not thinking it. This has been a long campaign, and I think most voters look past these highjacked video clips of any of the candidates.

Sent by Matthew Scallon | 4:47 PM | 4-8-2008

How about saying: "I don't like spending time with whiners. I already get enough of that with you-know-who."

Sent by Marc Naimark | 1:44 PM | 4-12-2008

Support comes from: