After the 2012 elections, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was determined to turn things around for the GOP by reshaping its image into something friendlier. He still is. Cantor has told reporters he thinks Republicans have a perception problem (himself included) and wants to highlight the kindler, gentler side of conservatives. Lately, he's taken to smiling at children to make his point.
Friday morning he tweeted this pic, highlighting one of his new signature issues, school choice:
These are good kids, thriving in a better school environment and making the most of this opportunity. pic.twitter.com/iZGEEFlE56— Eric Cantor (@GOPLeader) November 8, 2013
Cantor didn't entirely get the reaction he must have hoped for. Radio Dispatch's Molly Knefel tweeted, "This picture of Eric Cantor making faces at children is terrifying."
When The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza took a long look at Cantor's GOP rebranding efforts in March, Cantor hopefully asked if the magazine for some help softening his image:
[Cantor] persistently struck a diplomatic note and mentioned again and again how much he looked forward to working with Obama, a position that he said he’s been articulating for a long time.
"Why isn’t that your reputation, then?" I asked.
"I have to ask you that. Maybe you can make it so!"
Until The New Yorker prints it's surely forthcoming "Eric Cantor: A Nice Man" essay, the Majority Leader is trying to improve his reputation himself — with America's future leaders — with some photo ops. The children are not always convinced.
Here's Cantor smiling at a child at the Good Shepherd School in New Orleans.
He smiled at a couple more children there, too.
Here he is holding a child while smiling.
And here he is smiling at lunch time.
The Majority Leader smiling over some books.
And smiling about football.
Here he is perfecting the bend-and-smile.
And sometimes, just smiling near children is enough.
Lizza notes, "When cameras are around, [Cantor] has a tendency to look frozen, as if he’d just been caught doing something wrong; his smile can look like a snarl. He’s more genial in person."
Photos via the Majority Leader's Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.