The Obamas' Presidential PDA

Experts explain why they might be the most openly affectionate first couple ever.

The Washington Post/Getty Images

(The Root) -- Betty Everett sang it best in 1964: "If you want to know if he loves you so, it's in his kiss." Nearly five decades later, that maxim still holds true for smooching purists and presidents alike. Just ask Michelle Obama.

Earlier this month, while taking in a Team USA basketball exhibition game at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., the Obamas were caught by the arena's "kiss cam," not once, but twice. The first time, the president tried to get away with just a hug. Nope, not good enough, booed the folks from courtside to the nosebleeds.

On the second go-round, with some help from 14-year-old first daughter Malia, the president turned to face his wife and plant one on her. And the crowd went wild.

But why?

Certainly, married couples kiss. Before love, marriage and the baby carriage, one would hope there was time set aside for a kiss or 10. For the Obamas, expressing their love has never been an issue.

Since hitting the campaign trail in 2008, Barack and Michelle have stood out as the couple to watch. Their hand holding during rallies and after conventions seemed more than an easy photo op. Aides joked that after a long separation from his wife, the then candidate could get moody -- but after a brief visit from Michelle, he was back to normal.

And the Obamas have taken their hands-on approach to their relationship to the White House. In Washington their date nights are as ubiquitous as a presidential motorcade. A quick squeeze of the hand or a forehead kiss before greeting dignitaries isn't uncommon.

But the Obamas, obviously, are no ordinary married couple. Often their blissful image is considered a reboot of the 1960s Camelot at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., when the Kennedys reigned supreme. Yet there is something special, more genuine, perhaps, about the Obamas' love story than those of past presidential couples, according to several experts.

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"As parents and as a couple, the Obamas are very different," historian Doug Wead, author of the book All the Presidents' Children: Triumph and Tragedy in the Lives of America's First Families, told The Root. "Not even the Reagans were as publicly affectionate as the Obamas."