Is the Magic Gone With Barack Obama? Ask Michelle Obama

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Pressured to kiss on camera at a basketball game, the first couple resists, then finally gives in.

President Obama and his family, along with crazy uncle and deputy leader of the free world Joe Biden, attended a USA Basketball exhibition game against Brazil in D.C. last night, and some cheeky camera operator though he had a good idea -- he'd put Barack and Michelle Obama on the "Kiss Cam," a massive peer-pressure experiment in which couples are shamed into smooching when they're put on the JumboTron. (Confidential to camera man: It's not a great idea to make an enemy of the president by catching him in your sights. When his people get their lens trained on you from above, a missile usually isn't far behind).

The first couple at first resisted -- neither seemed especially eager to kiss, and Michelle Obama looked steadfastly ahead to avoid an impending peck. Eventually the camera panned away as the crowd jeered and booed. (They were clearly not saying "Yooouuuk.") After some urging from both Malia Obama and (of course) Biden, the Obamas got a second chance, and the First Lady acquiesced. It's tempting to see the moment as metaphorical: Obama may not be the hero he was four years ago, but his reelection team hopes that voters, just like his wife, will come around to him in the end. But maybe it's simpler than that. LeBron James doesn't really put us in the mood either.

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David A. Graham

David Graham is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Politics Channel. He previously reported for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The National.

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