71 Dazzling Obama Photos From White House Photographer Pete Souza

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Photo: White House Flickr

Official White House photographer Pete Souza posted the White House’s best photos of 2012 this morning.It includes some fantastic shots from President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, as well as new photos of the president’s response to the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., and of the fiscal cliff negotiations in the White House. 

We’ve grabbed 71 of the White House’s 2012 selections. Souza’s captions are in italics below the photos.

A great shot of Obama swimming in Hawaii last January.

'A nice way to celebrate the New Year for the President was to jump in the ocean in his native state of Hawaii. He was on his annual Christmas vacation with family and friends, and went swimming at Pyramid Rock Beach in Kaneohe Bay.'

Obama hugs Rep. Gabrielle Giffords upon arriving on the House floor to deliver his State of the Union address.

'One of the most memorable moments of the year was when the President hugged Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as he walked onto the floor of the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol to deliver his annual State of the Union address.'

An amusing photo of Michelle Obama and Jimmy Fallon.

There's a great story behind this photo.

'This is one of those rare instances where my presence indirectly became a part of this reaction from those pictured in the photograph. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had just accidentally dropped all of her briefing papers onto the Oval Office rug and she, the President and Vice President all reacted in a way that indicated that surely I wouldn't get a photo of that to embarrass her.'

Obama hugs 3-year-old Arianna Holmes in February.

'Lawrence Jackson captured this cute photograph of the President holding Arianna Holmes, 3, before taking a departure photo with members of her family in the Oval Office.'

A child plays with the presidential phone.

'Kids will be kids. After the President had welcomed Lauren Fleming, the March of Dimes national ambassador and her family in the Oval Office, her brother, Corbin Fleming, started to play with the President's telephone. Fortunately, he wasn't able to get through to a head of state.'

Women react after a surprise meeting with First Lady Michelle Obama during their White House tour.

On the phone with British Prime Minister David Cameron in February.

'From early spring to late fall, the light in the Oval Office is fairly consistent with the sun high in the horizon during the day. But during the winter months, the sun is lower on the horizon and splashes through the back window in the early morning and late afternoon. Here, in the midst of the morning light, the President talks on the phone with British Prime Minister David Cameron.'

The Obamas' dog, Bo, being humiliated.

'Sonya Hebert made this amusing photograph of Bo, the Obama family dog, as he was being videotaped for the Easter Egg Roll, in the East Colonnade of the White House.'

Vice President Joe Biden and his security detail running during the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Pittsburgh, Penn.

The President wipes down after a supporter accidentally spills frozen yogurt on him.

'The President wipes off his trousers after being splattered by frozen yogurt while shaking hands along a rope line in Boulder, Colo. University of Colorado student Kolbi Zerbest had placed her cup of yogurt on the ground while trying to shake hands with the President, and someone else inadvertently kicked the cup.'

Hugging troops at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan.

'For the President, this was one of the most poignant moments of the his first term. He was visiting wounded warriors in the intensive care unit at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. He had just presented a Purple Heart to Sgt. Chase Haag, who had been injured by an IED just hours before. Sgt. Haag was covered with a blanket and it was difficult to see how badly he was injured. He was also seemingly unconscious, or perhaps just asleep. The President whispered in his ear so not to wake him. Just then, there was a rustling under the blanket and Sgt. Haag, eyes still closed, reached his hand out to shake hands with the President. 'I'll never forget that moment,' someone else in the room later told me.''

First Lady Michelle Obama prepares to give the commencement address at Virginia Tech University.

'Lawrence Jackson made this great photograph of the First Lady touching the Hokie Stone before walking onto the field at Lane Stadium to give the Virginia Tech commencement address in Blacksburg, Va.'

Obama and various movie stars take a break from basketball.

'After some early morning basketball in Los Angeles, the President talks with the players who included actors Don Cheadle, Tobey Maguire, and George Clooney, along with two of Clooney's long-time friends. Stacy Keibler is also at right.'

Obama and world leaders watch the Euro 2012 tournament.

'At Camp David for the G8 Summit, European leaders took a break to watch the overtime shootout of the Chelsea vs. Bayern Munich Champions League final. Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom, the President, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, French President Francois Hollande react during the winning goal.'

A visual of the G8 meeting at Camp David.

'One of the great things about the G8 Summit being at Camp David was the relaxed and casual atmosphere. When the President decided to have a unscheduled meeting with just the Eurozone leaders, he asked them to step outside on the Laurel Cabin patio where the leaders and their staff all pulled up chairs for the impromptu meeting.'

Luz Graham-Urquilla, 4, watches as the President signs her drawing at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.

'The President was welcoming service members and their families to a screening of 'Men in Black 3' in the White House Family theatre. The movie was being presented in 3D, so the President jokingly asked them to try on their 3D glasses while he was speaking to them.'

The Obamas wave goodbye to President Shimon Peres of Israel after a June dinner at the White House.

In Cleveland after a campaign stop.

'We made an OTR (off-the-record, surprise stop) at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland after a campaign event, and the President sat and talked to a young woman before shooting hoops with another group of kids.'

The Obamas watch Laura Jarrett and Tony Balkissoon take their vows during their wedding at Valerie Jarrett's home in Chicago.

The President prays with a wounded service member and his family during a visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical centre in Bethesda, Md.

The First Lady joins African Methodist Episcopal Church bishops for a group prayer at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tenn.

Obama surveys the damage of wildfires in Colorado.

'The President views fire damage with firefighters and elected officials in Colorado Springs, Colo., after the devastating wildfires swept through the region the week before.'

Obama shares strawberry pie with a young boy in Ohio.

''Anyone want to try a piece of my strawberry pie,' the President asked those at adjacent tables during a stop for lunch at Kozy Corners restaurant in Oak Harbor, Ohio. A young boy said yes and came over for a big bite of pie.'

Obama gives a campaign speech through the pouring rain in Virginia in July.

'The President delivers remarks in the pouring rain at a campaign event in Glen Allen, Va. He was supposed to do a series of press interviews inside before his speech, but since people had been waiting for hours in the rain he did his remarks as soon as he arrived on-site so people.'

The Obamas appear on the Verizon centre's Kiss Cam at a U.S. basketball exhibition game in August.

The President and First Lady were attending the game between the U.S. Men's Olympic basketball team and Brazil in Washington, D.C. During the first half, the jumbotron flashed couples on their 'Kiss Cam', where they are then induced by the crowd to kiss each other. But neither the President or First Lady saw themselves when they were flashed on the 'Kiss Cam', and some in the audience booed when they didn't kiss. At halftime, as we walked to the locker room to visit the U.S. team, daughters Malia and Sasha were asking their parents why they hadn't kissed during their 'Kiss Cam' moment. Both the President and First Lady said they hadn't even realised what had happened and didn't know why people were booing. So in the second half, when they appeared again on the 'Kiss Cam', the President leaned over to kiss the First Lady amongst audience cheers as Malia and the Vice President watched overhead on the jumbotron.'

The back of Obama's chair.

U.S. Olympic wrestler Elena Pirozhkova picks up the First Lady during a greet with Team USA Olympic athletes competing in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.

A Make-A-Wish child reacts after meeting Obama.

'Overcome with emotion, eight-year old Make-A-Wish child Janiya Penny reacts just after meeting the President as he welcomes her family to the Oval Office.'

This cheering patron got a taste of a White House beer.

'How about a White House beer? The President was greeting patrons President at Coffee Connection in Knoxville, Iowa, when this customer asked him about the White House beer. The President said he thought he might have some on his campaign bus and asked an aide to check. A few minutes later, the President delivered a bottle and the customer reacted in celebration.'

Obama waves to supporters from his campaign bus in Iowa.

The iconic photo that the Obama campaign tweeted out on Election Night is from an Iowa rally in August.

'The President hugs the First Lady after she had introduced him at a campaign event in Davenport, Iowa. The campaign tweeted a similar photo from the campaign photographer on election night and a lot of people thought it was taken on election day.'

The President jogs down to the stage at a campaign stop in Colorado.

Souza took this shot at a campaign rally in Iowa at the beginning of September.

'The overview of a campaign rally in Urbandale, Iowa. This view was from a scissors lift just above the press stand.'

Biden signs autographs backstage at West York Area High School in York, Pa.

Obama backstage, watching Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention.

This came before Obama's DNC speech.

'While the President was waiting anxiously backstage before his speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., daughters Malia and Sasha came in to wish him well.'

Obama and Biden laugh together before a campaign stop in New Hampshire.

Biden greets supporters in Ohio.

'I love the headlight on the vehicle helping to light this frame taken by David Lienemann as the Vice President Joe greets people gathered outside the Obama For America field office in Chillicothe, Ohio.'

White House staffers meet in the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

'Denis McDonough, Deputy National Security Advisor, left, updates the President and Vice President on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon and Chief of Staff Jack Lew are at right.'

A poignant photo of Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the memorial of the four killed in the Benghazi attack.

'The President grasps the hand of the Secretary of State after his remarks during the ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, marking the return to the United States of the remains of J. Christopher Stevens, U.S. Ambassador to Libya; Sean Smith, Information Management Officer; and Security Personnel Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, who were killed in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.'

Some good company.

'A candid portrait of the President during a meeting, juxtaposed with the paintings of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, busts of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln, and the Emancipation Proclamation. It's a difficult angle to get because I had to sit in front of the closed Oval Office door and hope that no one would open the door and knock me over.'

Debate prep.

'The President talks with Ron Klain during debate preparations in Henderson, Nev. Sen. John Kerry, background, played the role of Gov. Mitt Romney during the prep sessions.'

Who says presidents can't drive?

'The President had invited former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to have lunch, and they apparently started talking about Gibb's Chevy Volt. Gibbs knew the President had visited one of their factories and was hoping to drive a Volt one day. Gibbs told the President that his car was on the South Drive. So the President jumped in and made three loops around the drive, joking later that the Secret Service ordered that the White House gates not be opened under any circumstances.'

Obama gets ready before the Alfred E. Smith dinner in New York.

'The President ties his white tie before the Alfred E. Smith dinner in New York. Although the dinner is an annual event, every four years, the two presidential nominees attend the dinner only a few weeks before the election.'

Here's Obama at a campaign stop in Florida during the final two weeks of the campaign.

Supporters in Cleveland, Ohio, cheer the president at an Oct. 25 rally.

Caught in Spiderman's web.

'The President to be caught in Spider-Man's web as he greets the Nicholas Tamarin, 3, just outside the Oval Office. Spider-Man had been trick-or-treating for an early Halloween with his father, White House aide Nate Tamarin in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. I can never commit to calling any picture my favourite, but the President told me that this was HIS favourite picture of the year when he saw it hanging in the West Wing a couple of weeks later.'

Obama sits in a briefing on Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 29.

Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talk with New Jersey residents affected by the storm.

From a campaign rally in Iowa on Nov. 3.

'I had noticed the possibility of a potential good photograph if the President were to pass by this flag as he departed an evening campaign rally in Dubuque, Iowa. So I planted myself backstage as he finished working a rope line and managed to get one usable frame as he walked by.'

Celebrating election victory.

'The Obama family and close friends were watching election results at a Chicago hotel. The President had warned everyone that it could be a very late night. Yet, only a few minutes later, the networks projected that he had been re-elected, and the President embraced the First Lady, while in the background, daughter Sasha hugged one of her cousins.'

'While he waited for the concession call from Gov. Mitt Romney, the President worked on his acceptance speech with Jon Favreau, Director of Speechwriting, and campaign advisor David Axelrod at a Chicago hotel.'

Walking onstage to deliver his acceptance speech.

Obama calls Egypt President Mohammed Morsi during the conflict in Gaza.

'Aides listen on the speaker phone in the Oval Office as the President talks on the phone with President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt about the escalating violence in Gaza.'

Being unimpressed with U.S. Olympian McKayla Maroney.

'The President had just met with the U.S. Olympics gymnastics team, who because of a previous commitment had missed the ceremony earlier in the year with the entire U.S. Olympic team. The President suggested to McKayla Maroney that they recreate her 'not impressed' photograph before they departed.'

On Nov. 15, Obama visited New York and surveyed damage from Hurricane Sandy.

'New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg views a map with the President during an aerial tour to view damage from Hurricane Sandy in Breezy Point, the Rockaways and Staten Island in NYC. Also onboard were New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security Secretary.'

The president speaks to parents that lost two children in the storm.

'The President tries to comfort Damien and Glenda Moore at a FEMA Disaster Recovery centre tent in Staten Island, N.Y. The Moore's two small children, Brandon and Connor, died after being swept away during Hurricane Sandy.'

Actor Daniel Day-Lewis checks out the Gettysburg Address at the White House.

'We had just watched the movie 'Lincoln' in the White House theatre with the director, screenwriter and many of the actors attending. Later, the President invited Daniel Day-Lewis upstairs to see the Lincoln Bedroom in the private residence. Here is Day-Lewis, who had just come to life as Abraham Lincoln, viewing the Gettysburg Address.'

A crowd in Burma hopes to see Obama as he passes by in the motorcade.

'Police hold back the crowd as residents line the streets of the motorcade route to welcome the first sitting President of the United States to visit Burma. This photograph was taken through the bullet-proof window of the vehicle just in front of the President's. I love that three of the police are also trying to sneak a glimpse, one with a smile on his face.'

'There is closure in this photograph. I suspect that neither man really wanted to have lunch with the other, but they both knew the importance for the American people in seeing them do so. Here, the President bids farewell to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney following their lunch.'

Obama entertains members of Led Zeppelin.

'When I was in high school, I had a friend who had Bose 901 speakers--at the time the best speakers on the planet--and when his parents were gone, he would invite me and other friends over to blast Led Zeppelin songs so loud that the windows in the almost rattled. So when the President was chatting with the surviving members of Led Zeppelin--John Paul Jones, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page--during intermission at the Kennedy centre honours, those long ago memories came flooding back.'

A new photo of Obama being briefed on the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

'The President reacts as John Brennan briefs him on the details of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The President later said during a TV interview that this was the worst day of his Presidency.'

While watching his daughter Sasha's rehearsal, Obama worked on the speech he would deliver in Newtown later that night.

'The President works on his Newtown speech at an auditorium in suburban Washington. Two days earlier, I had photographed him when John Brennan first briefed him on the shootings. Throughout that day, he reacted as we all did, which people witnessed when he delivered his statement a few hours later. Before we headed to Newtown for the Sunday night vigil, he went to watch his daughter Sasha, 11, at her rehearsal for the Nutcracker; he would be unable to attend her performance because of the trip to Newtown. During breaks in the rehearsal, he worked on his speech. His expression in this photograph may be subtle to the viewer, but not to me. There is emotion and resolve etched on his face, and he knew the importance of this speech for the nation.'

Obama meets with siblings and cousins of Emilie Parker, one of the 20 children who died in the Newtown tragedy.

'Two days after the shootings at Newtown, the President traveled to Connecticut to meet with the victims families and give remarks at a prayer vigil. The President spent hours greeting family members. Difficult as that was for everyone, the one moment that helped sooth the pain was when he posed for a photo with the siblings and cousins of Emilie Parker, one of the 20 children who died that day in Newtown. I see both sadness and hope in this photograph, and I know after a lot of tears that day, it meant so much to the President that everyone was able to smile for a moment in this family photo. Thanks to the Parker family for allowing us to show this photograph publicly.'

Everyone looks thrilled to be talking fiscal cliff.

'After returning early from his Christmas vacation, the President with the Vice President meets in the Oval Office with the leadership of Congress to discuss the fiscal cliff.'

In this Dec. 29 photo, Obama meets with his team to talk fiscal cliff.

'Following remarks in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the fiscal cliff negotiations, the President greets a couple of GSA workers as he walked back across on West Executive Avenue as he walked back to the West Wing of the White House. He gave them an elbow-bump, because he had just put Purell on his hands.'

Another fiscal cliff pow wow on Dec. 31.

'The President gives direction on the fiscal cliff negotiations to Rob Nabors, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs; the Vice President; Bruce Reed, Chief of Staff to the Vice President, and Chief of Staff Jack Lew in the Oval Office.'

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