The Obama Touch

From The Politico:

Joe Lieberman has felt it. So has Joe the Plumber. 
It’s the Obama Touch — the squeeze on the biceps, the pat on the shoulder or the tap on the back that signals the displeasure of the commander in chief. Let others turn on the deep freeze or lose their cool when they’re annoyed. Obama prefers to deal with problems by taking them in hand — literally. 
Just ask Vice President Joe Biden, who made a joke about Chief Justice John Roberts flubbing the oath of office last week and immediately felt his boss’s disapproval, in the form of Obama’s fingers on his back. 
“[Obama] was castigating him. There’s no other way to put it,” says Joe Navarro, a former FBI special agent specializing in nonverbal communication. …
Another member of the press, who witnessed a similar moment with a colleague during the campaign, recalls thinking the gesture seemed intended to regain control over the conversation — friendly on the surface but also a little intimidating. 
This dual experience is no accident; in sensitive situations, Obama typically uses touch to control and console simultaneously.

Just ask Michelle!
If only Obama could touch enough consumers and investors, confidence could really take off and save the economy. It's as good as the macroeconomist's ideas!
[HT Dave Weigel via Twitter]

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center