Obama Optics: A Tale of Two Pizzas

HONOLULU, Hawaii -- Eighty degrees and sunny, with no members of Congress in sight. That's what the president has to look forward to as he prepares to spend Christmas and New Year's with his family in Hawaii. But while Oahu may be an ideal vacation spot it may also be politically dicey for the White House, a challenge that may distill down to a tale of two pizzas.

On the one hand the administration has carefully crafted an image of the president as a champion of middle class Americans, who understands their struggles in a down economy.

He was even seen this week delivering pizzas to the White House. When he spoke about extending the payroll tax holiday that would net the average American about forty dollars per paycheck, he, again, invoked pizza. "Joseph from New Jersey," he said, " talked about how he would have to sacrifice the occasional pizza night with his daughters" if the tax holiday expired at the end of the year.

At the same time, though, a White House food blog reported that First Lady Michele Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia, who are already in Hawaii, visited an organic farm for a pizza party that included local celebrity chef Ed Kenney.

Not exactly a forty dollar outing.

While Americans may generally give presidents a fair amount of latitude when it comes to vacations, the trick for the White House is to carefully control the optics of a trip that very few Americans can afford.