(The Root) — From his Jay-Z-inspired shoulder-dust-off to his McKayla Maroney “not impressed” pose, Barack Obama has shown a remarkable knack for going viral. While most of the highly shareable images and video of the president are generated by fans and critics, he has also carefully cultivated online buzz through appearances including his surprise “Slow Jam the News” skit on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and his “Ask Me Anything Q&A” on Reddit.
The end result — whether it’s due to enthusiasm for his historic presidency, or simply the way the timing has coincided with the popularity of social networking — is that he’s our first “meme” president. Here are 12 moments that, along with the power of the Internet, have helped earn him that title.
Pete Souza/The White House
Maroney was none too happy when she failed to win the gold for her vault performance in this summer’s Olympic Games, and it showed all over her face. The “not impressed” expression is one that the president would have been well within his rights to make in response to some of his more outrageous critics over the years. So when he put on his best scowl while posing for a photo with the teen gymnast (“I do that face at least once a day,” he reportedly told her), the Internet awarded the image a medal for humor. The photo, as Maroney put it, ended up “everywhere.”
99 Problems, but …
In the final 24 hours of President Obama’s re-election campaign, Jay-Z delighted supporters at an Ohio rally with a remix of his hit single “99 Problems.” “If you’re havin’ world problems, I feel bad for you son/I got 99 problems, but Mitt ain’t one,” he rapped. Of course, those lyrics would be even more entertaining coming from the president himself, so it wasn’t long before a highly shareable (and explicit) remix, starring Obama, made its way to YouTube.