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POLL: Was Obama 'Selfie' Inappropriate?

Photo taken at Mandela memorial service has created an uproar.

This official White House photo shows President Obama speaking with wife Michelle. Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt is shown in the background checking her phone. Credit: Official White House photo
This official White House photo shows President Obama speaking with wife Michelle. Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt is shown in the background checking her phone. Credit: Official White House photo
By Kristi Reed

Was a photo taken by President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt inappropriate or just a case of three world leaders being human?

The "selfie" has created a storm of controversy on the internet, particularly on Twitter where the hashtag #ObamaSelfie has generated a flurry of tweets -- many of them highly critical of President Obama's decision to participate in the photo.

Hundreds of world leaders were present for Nelson Mandela's memorial service in Johannesburg earlier this week. During the service, Thorning-Schmidt appeared to have initiated the selfie, which shows her flanked by Cameron and Obama, all three wearing wide grins. 

The trio has been forced to defend their actions with Downing Street playing down the criticism. According to the Daily Mail, a spokesman for the British Prime Minister responded by saying, "I think what the PM would say about yesterday is it was very much a celebration of Nelson Mandela and his life and his achievements."

In the United States, the "selfie seen 'round the world" was countered with a White House release of 24 photos from the event -- none of which show the selfie or Obama's conversation with Thorning-Schmidt, though she is shown in the background of one of the photos.

As for the man who took the photo of the "selfie" moment -- Roberto Schmidt -- the Washington Post reports he defended the three saying, “At the time, I thought the world leaders were simply acting like human beings, like me and you. I doubt anyone could have remained totally stony faced for the duration of the ceremony, while tens of thousands of people were celebrating in the stadium. For me, the behaviour of these leaders in snapping a selfie seems perfectly natural.”

Was the "selfie" a perfectly natural activity at the memorial service or totally inappropriate? Leave a comment or vote in our poll. Note: This is not a scientific poll. It is for entertainment purposes only.
Samuel Stone December 12, 2013 at 02:54 PM
Why aren't more outraged over the selfies that leaders took at a party after the memorial? Truly upsetting. http://dandygoat.com/world-leaders-criticized-for-taking-selfies-at-wild-after-party
Jackie Irish December 13, 2013 at 11:29 AM
Not really. This wasn't a small somber funeral, but a large celebration of Mandela's life. There were literally thousands of selfies taken at that event (one even of a former President and an Irish pop star). While it may be odd (for some) to think that George W. Bush or Barack Obama have engaged in the practice, it was in no way disrespectful or inappropriate.
wmsmom December 16, 2013 at 11:06 AM
When someone dies young, you hold a funeral. When you get to be his age (hopefully for many of us), you want people to celebrate what you did, what you overcame, and the legacy you've left behind.

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