Obama Hugs Ensign McCain

I stumbled on these at Daylife whilst looking for a photo to illustrate my “Obama Foreign Policy: Bush 2.0?” post:

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) hugs graduate John S. McCain IV (L), son of U.S. Sen. John McCain, while attending the 2009 U.S. Naval Academy graduation in Annapolis, Maryland, May 22, 2009.

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) hugs graduate John S. McCain IV (L), son of U.S. Sen. John McCain, while attending the 2009 U.S. Naval Academy graduation in Annapolis, Maryland, May 22, 2009.

It’s a nice reminder as we head into the Memorial Day weekend that partisan politics is but a small part of life and that the things that unite us are much more important and powerful than those that divide us.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. William d'Inger says:

    I presume they photo shopped out the “Kick Me!” sign the president slapped on the kid’s back.

  2. Jim Henley says:

    Classic Robert Klein routine in 5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . .

  3. sam says:

    The Times reported it this way:

    There was a special guest among the 30,000 people who attended the ceremony: Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who ran for president against Mr. Obama in 2008, and is a 1958 graduate of the academy. Mr. McCain’s son and namesake, John S. McCain IV, was among those graduating on Friday.

    Mr. McCain sat unobtrusively in the audience with his wife, Cindy; an administration official said that out of respect for the McCains’ wishes, the president made no mention of the couple or their son. But when the younger Mr. McCain was called to the podium to receive his diploma, there was a huge roar from the crowd, and Mr. Obama spent an extra few moments with him, and gave him an enthusiastic couple of claps on the shoulder.

    In his speech, Obama said:

    As long as I am your commander in chief, I will only send you into harm’s way when it is absolutely necessary, and with the strategy and the well-defined goals, the equipment and the support that you need to get the job done.

    Clad in sparkling summer dress whites, the graduates greeted their new commander in chief with hoots, hollers and raucous applause. Mr. Obama, in return, praised them for the path they had chosen — a notable contrast, he suggested, to the pursuit of wealth that helped foster the current economic crisis.

    These Americans have embraced the virtues that we need most right now: self-discipline over self-interest; work over comfort; and character over celebrity,” the president said. “After an era when so many institutions and individuals have acted with such greed and recklessness, it’s no wonder that our military remains the most trusted institution in our nation.

    When all the diplomas had been handed out, the 2009 class president, Ensign Andrew R. Poulin, summoned Mr. Obama back to the podium to present him with a black flight jacket emblazoned on the back with gold block letters that read “commander in chief.”

    “It even has pockets for your Blackberry, and you will look sharp on the basketball court with this, sir,” Ensign Poulin said.

    Mr. Obama took off his blue suit coat, slipped on the jacket, and flashed the graduates a thumbs up.

  4. Eric says:

    I presume they photo shopped out the “Kick Me!” sign the president slapped on the kid’s back.

    Yes, James, it’s so nice to see partisan politics put aside…

  5. William d'Inger says:

    Yes, James, it’s so nice to see partisan politics put aside…

    Oh, wait! That wasn’t a caption contest? Umm, … *blush* … Well, it looks like … I mean, the photo is soo Rodney-esque … Er, forget it. Maybe I shoulda had a second cuppa coffee this morning.

  6. sam says:

    Since it’s Memorial Day weekend, and the president spoke at Annapolis, I’d like to direct everyone’s attention to one of the bravest, if not the bravest, feat of arms by US fighting men in World War II: the action of Taffy 3 off Samar Island in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. I mean this with the deepest respect–those sailors, especially LCdr Ernest Evans and the men of the USS Johnston, fought like Marines. You need only bear in mind one fact about the fight: The Japanese battleship Yamoto displaced more than the entire complement of ships composing Taffy 3 (3 destroyers, 4 destroyer escorts, 5 escort carriers; Japanese order of battle: 4 battleships, 6 heavy cruisers, 2 light cruisers, 11 destroyers). Never were so few outgunned by some many.

    The Battle off Samar was the central action of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which was one of the largest naval battles in history. As the only major action in the larger battle where the Americans were largely unprepared against the opposing forces, it has been cited by historians as one of the greatest military mismatches in naval history. It took place in the Philippine Sea off Samar Island, in the Philippines, on October 25, 1944.

    Admiral William Halsey, Jr. was lured into taking his powerful U.S. Third Fleet after a decoy fleet. He left behind only a light screen of destroyers and destroyer escorts to protect three escort carrier groups of the United States Seventh Fleet. A powerful Japanese surface force of battleships and cruisers thought to have been defeated and in retreat instead turned around unobserved and stumbled upon the northernmost of the three groups, Task Unit 77.4.3 (“Taffy 3”). Taffy 3’s destroyers and destroyer escort desperately attacked with 5-inch guns and torpedoes, while carrier aircraft dropped bombs and depth charges. While U.S. vessels leading the counter-attack suffered heavy personnel losses, they sunk or disabled three Japanese cruisers and caused enough confusion to convince the Japanese commander, Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita, to regroup and ultimately withdraw, rather than advancing to sink troop and supply ships at Leyte Gulf. “In no engagement of its entire history has the United States Navy shown more gallantry, guts and gumption than in those two morning hours between 0730 and 0930 off Samar.”

    — Samuel Eliot Morison History of United States Naval Operations in World War II Volume XII, Leyte

    See, James D. Hornfischer, The Last Stand of the Tincan Sailors for a complete history of the battle.

  7. Matt says:

    That’s one hell of a story sam thanks..

  8. An Interested Party says:

    re: William d’Inger | May 23, 2009 | 12:57 pm

    I guess your obtuse eyes missed the fact that this post has a set of four pictures in it rather than just one…if this were a caption contest, I would expect something else, perhaps along the lines of, “I presume they photo shopped out the knife that the president was sticking in the kid’s back.” That seems more along the lines of what is usually written in those things…

  9. G.A.Phillips says:

    Nice Sam, man, how brave they are.

  10. William d'Inger says:

    …knife…

    Whoa! I was thinking in terms of a run-of-the-mill practical joke people play. I consider the president laid back enough to engage in a harmless prank when the situation warrants. I suppose I should have guessed some knee-jerk liberal would turn it into a partisan political rant.

  11. An Interested Party says:

    I suppose I should have guessed some knee-jerk liberal would turn it into a partisan political rant.

    Actually, you did that with your first comments on this thread…

  12. sam says:

    Matt, GA:

    Yes, those men can’t be held in high enough esteem. The Johnston in the course of making its one-ship attack on the Japanese fleet (and blowing off the bow of a Japanese cruiser) was, as you might guess, pounded, just pounded, by Japanese gunnery. Evans was able to bring the ship about and was retiring from the fight when he saw that all the other “little guys” (in Adm. Sprague’s words) were now rushing to the attack. So, he brought Johnston about again and headed back into the fray. But Johnston’s luck had run out. Eventually, it was surrounded by Japanese ships and essentially obliterated. But then, as it was sinking, a strange and beautiful thing happened, strange and beautiful for the Pacific war. As Johnston was going to its grave, and the Japanese ships were gliding by it, one of the Japanese commanders had his sailors stand at attention at the rail, and they saluted Johnston as they went by. A grace note in a theater of war where grace notes were unknown.

  13. William d'Inger says:

    one of the Japanese commanders had his sailors stand at attention at the rail, and they saluted Johnston as they went by.

    Well, actually, Japanese would have bowed rather than saluted. It’s really the same thing. The tradition is called “rendering passing honors” (or similar terminology depending on the nationality). I have heard that story before, but I don’t have a reliable source for it. Is that in Morison’s “History”?

  14. sam says:

    The tradition is called “rendering passing honors” (or similar terminology depending on the nationality). I have heard that story before, but I don’t have a reliable source for it. Is that in Morison’s “History”?

    IIRC, I read it in The Last Stand of the Tincan Sailors.

  15. Matt says:

    I actually saw a vintage newspaper clipping that was about one of the survivors but they also noted the Japanese cruiser..

    The part that really got me about the Johnston was that the skipper ended up controlling her from the tail of the ship by yelling down a hatch at people manually moving the rudder. That’s borderline “insane”..

  16. Matt says:

    Oh and the newspaper article stated that someone on the cruiser threw a can of peaches to the survivors.

  17. William d'Inger says:

    The part that really got me about the Johnston was that the skipper ended up controlling her from the tail of the ship by yelling down a hatch at people manually moving the rudder. That’s borderline “insane”..

    There’s nothing insane about it. Manual rudder control by voice command is standard procedure for loss of electric/hydraulic means. It’s something we practiced as a regular drill. It was no different than fire, flooding or man overboard drills.

  18. tom p says:

    See, James D. Hornfischer, The Last Stand of the Tincan Sailors for a complete history of the battle.

    It is a great book, and a real page turner. Read it. 2… 3…. maybe 4 times. I have.

  19. tom p says:

    And when you get done with that, read “With the Old Breed” by E.B. Sledge… 7 or 8 times.

  20. tom p says:

    One more: Lewis Grizzard’s “My Daddy was a Pistol and I’m a Son of a Gun”

  21. sam says:

    Here is Ernest Evans’s Medal of Honor citation, from this magnificient, and humbling, site, Medal of Honor Citations, which lists the citations of Medal of Honor awardees for all conflicts in which the medal has been bestowed.

    EVANS, ERNEST EDWIN

    Rank and organization: Commander, U.S. Navy. Born: 13 August 1908, Pawnee, Okla. Accredited to: Oklahoma. Other Navy awards: Navy Cross, Bronze Star Medal. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Johnston in action against major units of the enemy Japanese fleet during the battle off Samar on 25 October 1944. The first to lay a smokescreen and to open fire as an enemy task force, vastly superior in number, firepower and armor, rapidly approached. Comdr. Evans gallantly diverted the powerful blasts of hostile guns from the lightly armed and armored carriers under his protection, launching the first torpedo attack when the Johnston came under straddling Japanese shellfire. Undaunted by damage sustained under the terrific volume of fire, he unhesitatingly joined others of his group to provide fire support during subsequent torpedo attacks against the Japanese and, outshooting and outmaneuvering the enemy as he consistently interposed his vessel between the hostile fleet units and our carriers despite the crippling loss of engine power and communications with steering aft, shifted command to the fantail, shouted steering orders through an open hatch to men turning the rudder by hand and battled furiously until the Johnston, burning and shuddering from a mortal blow, lay dead in the water after 3 hours of fierce combat. Seriously wounded early in the engagement, Comdr. Evans, by his indomitable courage and brilliant professional skill, aided materially in turning back the enemy during a critical phase of the action. His valiant fighting spirit throughout this historic battle will venture as an inspiration to all who served with him.

  22. Matt says:

    There’s nothing insane about it. Manual rudder control by voice command is standard procedure for loss of electric/hydraulic means. It’s something we practiced as a regular drill. It was no different than fire, flooding or man overboard drills.

    I consider standing on the fan tail out in the open while being shot at as rather insane but I guess in reality a 14 inch shell doesn’t care if there’s a couple inches of steel between you and it..

    By insane I mean like an amazing level of bravery that I couldn’t accomplish myself..

    @Sam yeah I thought about posting that when I found it the other day..