Selfies, selfies, selfies. Whether you love or hate them, they're not going anywhere — at least not as long as we have front-facing smartphones. This fact may not be the most uplifting news for former President Barack Obama, who delivered some amusing remarks at the Obama Foundation Summit on Tuesday. It turns out that Obama is not exactly a fan of selfies.
While speaking to the audience, Obama said that during his time as a president he noted that people would not approach him by looking directly into his eyes. Eye contact seemed to be a rare thing for the former leader of the United States of America. For that reason, Obama said there was only rule for the attendees of the summit: They weren't allowed to take selfies. "For Michelle and myself, this seems trivial but it's not. No selfies," Obama said.
The former president went on to explain, "One of the weird things about being president is I found people were no longer looking me in the eye and shaking my hand because they approached me either like this or like this." Obama imitated the general selfie stance, if you will, by holding up an imaginary phone camera in front of his face from different angles.
If you don't believe him, simply Google images with keywords like "Obama" and "selfie." You'll notice that he has a point. People kind of, sort of are crazy about being seen with him.
Obama has been fairly open with sharing what he didn't like about being president. In May, he told White House chef Sam Kass that there were several aspects of being a president that he wasn't particularly stoked about. One of them was the seemingly endless "isolation" he felt. Now that he's no longer president, there's another little thing that bugs Obama: being asked for selfies.
Kass asked Obama if there were things that he did not miss about being president. "Well, that's a long list," he joked at first. Then Obama went on to say, "You know, the hardest thing about being the president of the United States, it is unique in its isolation. The burdens of leadership are true in any country, but in part because of the security apparatus around a U.S. president, you live in what’s called 'the bubble.'"
Obama added, "It is a very nice prison. So, you don’t have the freedom of movement to be able to just take a walk, or to sit at a cafe, because there’s always this security concern around you. I don’t miss that."
Further into the interview, Obama told Kass that he was enjoying his newfound freedom but he still gets requests for selfies whenever he steps out for a walk. And it's not exactly fun, according to him. "Now I’m only captive to selfies, which is almost as bad," Obama kidded.
One possible explanation for so many selfie requests is that people appear to still miss Obama. In fact, certain studies carried out over recent months show that a considerable portion of the American public longs for the Democrat president to be in office again. According to a recent Public Policy Polling study conducted in September, a majority of Americans still wish Obama was the president of the country. At least 52 percent of the respondents in the study said they preferred Obama over Trump.
Captive to selfies or not, the former president appears to be one of the most fondly-remembered leaders of the United States. He may not be the president of the country anymore but he certainly seems to be the leader of many American hearts. Just try not to ask for a selfie.