Say Cheese Romney or Obama: Which Candidate Is Winning the Baby Vote? (PHOTOS)
Forget women, independents, and Hispanics. As the presidential campaign heats up, the more pressing question is which candidate the all-important infant constituency favors. See the photographic evidence so far.
Getty Images (3); AP Photos (1)
In the race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, political pundits have exhaustively analyzed who’s better for
women, African-Americans, Hispanics, and who values voters. But who’s better for the littlest of Americans? Babies have long been a part of campaigns.
The Romney campaign and its supporters are taking the baby vote to the next level,
releasing a slew of ads starring infants and toddlers aimed at convincing voters that Obama’s fiscal policies are bad for their children. As Obama and Romney each embarks on the time-honored political tradition of baby kissing, who’s winning the infant vote? We take a look.
Mark Wallheiser / Getty Images I Want My Mommy!
The crowd may have been beaming at Romney during a Jan. 28 campaign stop in Panama City, Fla., but the baby the Republican presidential candidate is cradling couldn’t be more disgruntled. As Romney attempts a good-natured grin, the irked infant wails and struggles to get out of the pol’s arms and back to Mommy.
Jay LaPrete / Getty Images Hush, Little Baby
After greeting supporters during a July 16 event in Cincinnati, Obama takes a break from preaching about his economic plan to channel his inner baby whisperer. As the president coos, the tyke appears to be lulled into a pleasant slumber. That, or all that harping about restoring middle-class security by paying down our debt bored her to sleep.
Saul Loeb, AFP / Getty Images Double Duty
Early polls reveal that a record number of adult voters aren’t exactly enthusiastic about Paul Ryan as Romney’s VP pick, and at least one baby agrees. Though both Ryan and Romney flash energetic smiles at a wee one in attendance at a North Carolina rally Aug. 12, the weary infant fails to reciprocate the excitement, instead appearing more Team Terrified than Team Romney.
Saul Loeb, AFP / Getty Images Look Into My Eyes
Obama and a steely-eyed toddler exchange meaningful glances at a January 2008 stop in Coralville, Iowa. Is the 18-month-old gazing deep into the presidential hopeful’s eyes to affirm his message of hope and change? Or is she issuing a stern warning not to mess things up with her searing stare?
Whitney Curtis / Getty Images Grandma’s Boy
A tentative toddler sizes up Romney as the former Massachusetts governor hoists him up in the air at a March 2012 stop in Kirkwood, Mo. The kid proudly sports a T-shirt touting his grandma’s support of Romney, but the fist and claw he is making with his hands as he leans away from the presidential candidate indicates that he’s not as certain whom he’ll be endorsing.
Pete Souza, White House Photo / Getty Images Hipster Cred
Rocking an impressively stiff mohawk and trendy flannel, this punk preschooler ups the president’s cool factor just by appearing in a photo with him. If only the hipster-in-training managed to crack a smile during the July 4 photo op on the White House’s South Lawn. There may be two ways to interpret the baby’s dour facial expression: contempt for the president or a classically hipster refusal to show excitement or enthusiasm—no matter how gleeful he may be.
Gerald Herbert / AP Photos Center of Attention
A flurry of flashing cameras, hordes of screaming ralliers, and stone-faced Secret Service agents don’t make for the most child-friendly environment, so it’s hard to fault this baby for violently wailing as Romney offers his best oblivious smile at a Chandler, Ariz., event in February.
Nicholas Kamm, AFP / Getty Images Misery on Main Street
Obama toted this crabby child during the kickoff of his “White House to Main Street Tour” in Allentown, Pa., in December 2009. Judging by the grumpy girl’s pouty mug, she’d much rather he just take her back to Mom.
Joe Raedle / Getty Images Spellbound
Romney trades in his typical wide beam for a more playful facial expression as he holds a precocious 7-month-old at Hudson’s Smokehouse in Lexington, Calif, on Jan. 18. The girl seems responsive to the change, too, as her enthralled gaze is certainly more hospitable than the screaming babies Romney typically picks up.
Saul Loeb, AFP / Getty Images Unimpressed
It’s common for supporters to be star-struck to the point of speechlessness upon meeting the president of the United States. That may be the case for this slack-jawed tot. Or he may just be bored. The little guy’s vacant stare as Obama carries him at a New York stop in 2011 suggests he’s waiting for the commander in chief to do something entertaining.
At a January 2008 appearance in Lakeland, Fla., Romney is forced to deal with not just one crying child, but two. The despondent duo may have tears in their eyes and appear to be struggling to get out of Romney’s clutches, but credit the politician for smiling through it all.
Saul Loeb, AFP / Getty Images Tickle Monster
A polka-dot-wearing toddler in Indiana has no qualms about getting close to Obama as he campaigns for president at an August 2008 campaign stop. The grinning girl goes so far as to even tickle the then-senator’s chin, eliciting a priceless, sassy reaction from the presidential hopeful.