Opinion Brief

Hillary Clinton in the Situation Room: Overcome by emotion or just allergic?

A photo of Obama's staff taken during the bin Laden raid suggests the Secretary of State was deeply moved, but now she says she was merely coughing

The image: The photo — capturing the president and his rapt national security staff as they receive updates on the mission to kill Osama bin Laden — is already being hailed as one for the history textbooks. (View the image below.) At its focal point, Hillary Clinton clutches her hand to her mouth, her eyes seemingly filled with emotion, in sharp contrast to the steely gazes of the men surrounding her. Or not. Today, Clinton spoke out about the "iconic" image, offering a rather deflating explanation: "I am somewhat sheepishly concerned that [my hand on my mouth] was my preventing one of my early spring allergic coughs," she said. "It may have no great meaning whatsoever."
The reaction:
It would be pretty lame if the White House purposefully selected a photo in which Obama and the other men "look calm, cool, and collected," while an allergy-rattled Clinton looks vulnerable, says Mark Pasetky in Forbes. Whatever, says Jen Doll in The Village Voice. It's just a bummer that the humdrum allergy revelation has drained the photo of its drama: "Does everything have to be ruined by facts?" It sure seems that way, says Jeff Neumann at Gawker. "Way to kill a buzz, Hills." See the much-debated shot:

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