Owning the photo op - Macleans.ca

Owning the photo op


The Prime Minister may have scored dozens of flattering photos during these Olympics, but he was clearly out-maneouvered this afternoon by Jack Layton, who managed, by parking himself in front of a television camera at Wayne Gretzky’s restaurant in Toronto, to receive just slightly less airtime than Pierre McGuire.

This video, courtesy of the good folks at Torontoist, purports to show the NDP leader removing another spectator’s celebratory arm from the nation’s view of his face, but having watched it several times now, I’m not entirely convinced he’s not just awkwardly attempting to hug said spectator. Or something.

Jack Layton is possibly the most astute politician in our nation’s history.


Owning the photo op

  1. Yeh. I noticed that. I thought Jack looked like the a**clown he is. Anybody watching that was probably rolling their eyes at Layton who, every time the camera cut to Gretzky's, did everything he could to be noticed. It was pretty obvious that he wasn't watching the game either because he was ALWAYS looking right at the camera so he could be ready to wave like an idiot. Chow got in on the action once or twice too. What a bunch of dorks. Only the NDP would think mugging for the camera at possibly the biggest event in Canadian Olympic history would be good for a vote or two.

  2. When I first saw Layton, I thought that was cool. I now have this vision of Brad Lavigne scouting Gretzky's bar early in the am, trying out bar stools to manage the perfect angle.

    What's really embarassing, who thinks that a half second after Canada just scored. Ya, real genuine hockey fan there Jack.

    • No kidding. How the heck did he get that prime spot right in front of the camera? I guess his long-time reputation as a media hog ain't for nothin'!

  3. A telling moment.

  4. It looked like Layton was wearing an old Nagano pauper hat. I'll give him points for long-term fandom.

  5. He looks desperate.

  6. I see the usual Liberal hacks are out in full force – resentful that Layton happened to be on TV while Iggy was no where to be seen – I'm sure Count Ignatieff had better things to do with his time than hobnob with real people. Was he at a wine tasting seminar while the hockey game was happening?

    • Actually I think its another sign of good Donolo communications management that Ignatieff kept a low profile today. Today was about the athletes and the volunteers and the organizers, not about pols trying to score cheap brownie points.

      • Yeah, except for that big op-ed piece he wrote in the Globe. If nobody reads it or cares, maybe he keeps the low profile?

      • That can always wait until Monday morning in the Globe and Mail Comment Section. It was still a nice piece Ignatieff wrote, though.

  7. I don't understand – how can this be used as an attack on the Conservative government? I must be on the wrong blog.

    • Well, if it was Harper, even the slightest movement would be interpreted in sinister terms, but Layton gets the "he might be hugging her" benefit of the doubt. lol

  8. You got the dipper hack thing down pat… or are you Conservative hack? Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.

      • absolutely.

      • Don't tell me. Those Australian guys are already practicing the closing ceremonies for Sochi?

      • Excellent point Blues Clair. Not since Jozin z Bazin have I seen an overwhelming victory of pure logic like yours.

      • That vocalist looks a bit like a younger Jean Chrétien.

        And, like our former PM, he does a masterfully brilliant job of singing along to us about absolutely nothing at all.

  9. They had shown the same camera shot from Gretzky's earlier – I recognized the same female near the bar from before – but I don't recall seeing Layton and Chow then.

  10. at least he was there as a genuine fan, not planted stony-faced next to Mr. Gretzky in person. Kudos for not showing the PM, CTV. It as far more fun watching the execs jump up and down.

    • Our PM is ALWAYS stony-faced and awkward, but his love of hockey is sincere.

      I was the only conservative in the group that I watched with, but everybody there agreed that Layton was pushing that arm out of the way so that the camera could see him.

  11. It looked to me like he was just trying to see the TV screen in front of him and the woman's arm was blocking his view of the after-goal hugs.

    • I thought of that at first, but I don't think that the video supports that possibility. I don't think he has any problem seeing the screen, which is precisely why he tries to get the woman's arm out of the way. It's like he's looking in a mirror, and wants his look to be just right.

    • Ya, just trying to see his face on the TV screen..

  12. Leave it to Aaron to save Jack from his gaffe.

    NDP are seasoned publicity hounds. Jack.,Olivia were well aware of the camera placement in the Bar. Jack is always leaves QP first to get his Press Scrums covered.

    Perhaps Libby could have sent some tape, chains ( which she did not see) to block off the area for NDP.

    • Yeah, it boggles the mind that Aaron would come to anything other than the plainly obvious conclusion.

  13. Aargh! You mean ALL those shots of harper are loaded onto the freaking Government of Canada website?

    Of course — they're to show all the work he's done while Parliament was prorogued.

    The Olympics in Canada: one big PM photo opp.

    Good for Iggy for laying low. Of course, he's just visiting — like all the ex-pate celebs who closed the Olympics (Mike Fox; "I've lived in US for 30 years…"

  14. I'm glad to hear that all of the constant coverage of the PM at the Olympics is just politics.

    I was beginning to think he was dating Jenn Heil!

    On another note, while I do not doubt the sincerity of our PM's joy at our athletes' collective success for a moment, could he BE any more awkward??? Seriously, in several of those shots he looks like he's attempting a high five, for the first time in his life, immediately after having a member of his staff explain the manouver to him. Twice.

    It's like looking at photos of a TERRIBLE actor trying out for the role of "excited fan" in a movie of the week.

    • I thought that the most awkward PM moment came when it looked like he forgot to cheer for the men's short track relay. And did he have a jetpack? He was at speed skating in Richmond, now at the Pacific Coliseum… whoooops out to curling….

    • It does kinda bugs me how much we make of the politicians trying to make gains out of politics. Every year we make lesser and lesser things more and more important in judging the best PM.

      Harper was there and everywhere and, frankly, he's our PM and should have been. He actually should not have even had to pay for any tickets, if you ask me. I disliked the jockeying over who was going to freeload the least/most that went on by communications staff and media.

      That said, I was pretty impressed with Gordon Campbell's jubilant celebration at the closing ceremonies. He was really pumped, smiling, shouting, jumping around, waving that giant Canadian flag so vigorously. Hope he wasn't driving afterward.

      A bit of personality contrast with Harper in terms of energy and emotion. Was a little surprised to see him at the closing ceremonies, with the world looking on, as the only one (other than the 4 Chiefs) not in a suit. But then I thought it ironic that, between him and Campbell, it looked like Harper was the one in a too tight suit and not the other way around.

  15. Is trying to siphon off Olympic pride and Canadian patriotism to gain political advantage a good thing and something we should admire?

  16. Layton elbows into a bar for free exposure, and this make him an astute politician? Wow.

    Holding our politicians to such high thresholds is obviously why we have the brilliant leaders available to us now.

  17. Just like a socialist …. drinking beer in Toronto while others do the work for him! L M (_!_) Off.

  18. There was another scene earlier from the bar where Layton had one hand grabbing onto the bar and the other sticking out, trying to hold back the surging crowd. He kept looking up at the camera.

    When I saw that, I actually thought it was kinda sweet because it seemed like he was trying to keep the crowd back from crushing his much smaller wife, Olivia Chow.

    In retrospect however, with him looking up at the camera, carefully positioned directly in front of the camera, and pushing that young cheering Canadian's arm out of the way, I'm having second thoughts.

  19. So Harper is too formally stiff and Layton a ham ….. I wish people would get a life …. How about a story on something substantive rather then a bunch of old lady gossip.

    Anybody to set up a relief fund for Chile?

    Or comment on how these Olympics provided an opportunity for oh so many immigrants or first generation Canadians to identify with Canada by feeling like a Canadian for the first or even a short time?

    I saw things I never expected,

    I saw pride of Country in many diverse faces from many diverse cultures and I saw a serious blow to Quebec separatism.

    F the Bloc …. they couldn't openly enjoy the Olympics when there was nary a Fleur-de -lis anywhere in sight.

    Who caries about Layton when we have shoved a 4 x 12 rough cut plank up the (_!_) of the Block!

    Lots of Canadien got metals and wrapped themselves in the CANADIAN flag.

    Wonder what they (the Block) watched on television and where? LMAO

    Maybe someone should ask them!

    Now there would be a story!