On the surface, posing for pictures with babies and children comes across as nothing more than a PR stunt. But being able to properly hold a baby, confidently and tenderly, can also serve in many ways as a litmus test for trustability, a nebulous concept that played an important role in the most recent election.
Having the ability to relate to children requires an internal sense of empathy that we seek in our political leaders.
During his tenure as US president, Barack Obama has shown himself to be an adept baby-holder — for the most part avoiding the blooper real, and even producing some instant classics: like with this elephant-suit-clad baby, and these twins, and this crawling goober.
Obama’s Oval Office baby photos are the stuff of legend, but the president has also shown that he can take this talent with children on the road.
Over the course of his presidency, Obama made 52 international trips to 58 different countries, giving him ample opportunity to hold a baby and hang out with children in almost every continent.
These 13 photos show Obama’s innate ability to relate to children from around the world, from the White House to the streets of Senegal.
Obama squats to pick up a young boy in the Oval Office, Feb., 2010
Obama holds a young girl at the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica, Apr., 2015.
Excited children greet Obama at the presidential palace in Estonia.
Obama is greeted by a young girl with flowers upon arriving in China.
Obama is inundated by high fives at the U.S. Embassy in Kenya.
Obama chats with a young refugee in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Obama holds a high-profile meeting with the UK's Prince George.
Obama reaches to touch a young boy's hair among a large crowd in Tanzania.
Obama holds a baby as a man in the crowd cheers him on.
Obama shakes hands with the children of US Embassy staff in Thailand.
Obama and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos greet schoolchildren in Cartagena, Colombia.
Obama speaks with a young Irish girl in Dublin.
Barack and Michelle greet young dancers for Diwali celebrations in Mumbai, India.