Mitt Romney's Favorite Gesture: Jazz Hands

In speech after speech, the presumptive Republican nominee deploys a familiar move to accentuate his points.

Les Mitt? Joseph Smith and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat? Whatever you call it, we noticed some months ago that Mitt Romney often appeared to be making the classic show choir gesture known as "jazz hands" while on the stump (Here's a somewhat NSFW Simpsons demonstration if you're unfamiliar). Was it a fluke?

To answer that question, we kept an eye on wire photographs over the ensuing months. Sure enough, they revealed an emerging portrait of a Republican candidate who simply can't resist jazz hands. The frequent use of the gesture no doubt represents Romney's emergence on the world stage; many global leaders adopt their own poses of power. Kim Jong Un looks at things. Barack Obama feigns interest in mundane objects. Vladimir Putin, uh, acts like a macho parody. Newt Gingrich offers condescending facial expressions. We don't know for sure that Romney is a show tune aficionado, but it makes sense: Musicals are wholesome, somewhat square fun, and we know that Romney likes "music of almost any kind."

See for yourself:

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David A. 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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