Bear hugs, biker babe: Campaign 2012 gets physical
Barack Obama goes airborne in a doozy of a bear hug with a pizza guy in Florida. Joe Biden cozies up with a biker chick in Ohio. Paul Ryan encircles a campaign supporter in North Carolina in a double-armed embrace. Even the more reserved Mitt Romney seems to be loosening up some with people he meets on the campaign trail.
Kissing babies and slapping backs are so yesterday.
The 2012 candidates are putting their all into the campaign cliche of pressing the flesh.
"America's become more touchy-feely,'' says Lillian Glass, a body language expert based in Los Angeles. "That's what they want in their candidates, and that's what they're getting.''
When 74-year-old Jan Queen locked on to Biden for a hug and kiss in Jackson, Ohio, on Saturday, she didn't budge for a minute or so.
"I told him he was so handsome, so good-looking, that I was not going to let go of him,'' Queen reported afterward.
"Will you write a note to my wife and tell her that?'' Biden asked with a grin.
It was just another friendly campaign encounter for Biden, the most natural people person among the four top candidates.
But the vice president raised eyebrows Sunday when he buddied up next to a bandana-and-leather-clad biker at a diner in Seaman, Ohio. In photos of the encounter, it almost looks as if the woman is sitting on Biden's lap, but her chair was just pulled up close to the vice president, who leaned in behind her and put both hands on her shoulders.
The photo and accompanying stories soon went viral as the public and campaign partisans dissected the propriety of the pose.
Plenty of people also were taken aback by images of Obama being hoisted well off the floor when 46-year-old Scott Van Duzer enfolded him in a chest-to-chest bear hug on Sunday.
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