Sharing jokes with his staff before Paris fashion week and perching on their chairs on AirForce One, these photos depict a very relaxed behind-the-scenes Obama.
They feature in a new book by the former president’s deputy chief of staff Alyssa Mastromonaco, who recounts her ten years at his side.
Pictures from Who Thought This Was A Good Idea show Mastromonaco laughing with the Commander-in-Chief and even sharing a high-five with Michelle Obama.
Others show him perched on the arm of her chair and looking relaxed as he takes a phone call on Air Force One.
Relaxed: With his hands in his pockets, Obama shares a joke with his deputy chief of staff Alyssa Mastromonaco while attending Paris Fashion week in 2012
Planning: Obama perches on Mastromonaco’s chair next to Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Mona Suphen (right) on their way back from Ghana
Calm: Obama is in control as he takes a phone call on Air Force One with his faithful aide looking on by his side
Mastromonaco worked for Obama for ten years, taking up the position of director of scheduling in 2004 and working her way up the ranks to eventually be given the title of deputy chief-of-staff before leaving his administration in 2014
One of Mastromonaco’s main roles during her time working with Obama was to write his schedule, from meetings with senior military strategists to a visit to meet the Pope.
In her book Mastromonaco recounts her experience as Obama’s right-hand woman and also reflects on how she secured the role.
‘When you see my life on paper, it’s not remotely obvious how I would end up, at age 32, working as the right-hand woman to the first African American president, sitting across from him on Air Force One heading to Afghanistan, Russia, China – or, honestly, anywhere,’ she writes.
Joking around: After being told she was the size of a hedgehog, Mastromonaco demonstrates her best hedgehog impression to the President, senior adviser Daniel Pfeiffer and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney
Long-standing partners: Mastromonaco (right and left deep in thought with Obama) worked for him for ten years, taking up the position of director of scheduling in 2004
At ease: Mastromonaco swaps a high five with first lady Michelle Obama at a reception for her leaving drinks in 2014
‘A lot of people ask me how a public school kid from Upstate New York with no connections and no Ivy League acceptance letters, who spent more time at God Street Wine shows than in academic club meetings, ended up a few feet from the Oval Office, working as one of the youngest women ever to be a deputy chief of staff for the president of the United States.
‘Sometimes these people are being rude, like, How could someone like you end up in a job like that? Sometimes they’re genuinely curious. Sometimes they want to know so they can do it, too.
‘I wanted to write this book to try to answer the question for everyone, but especially the last group. (The jerks are least important to me, but they can still eat it.)
‘I have come to believe that hard work and a good attitude can get you further than you could ever dream, and unfortunately, this is a really basic lesson that doesn’t come up in most career advice. It’s kind of cheesy, but sometimes life is cheesy for a reason.’
- Who Thought This was a Good Idea by Alyssa Mastromonaco is published by Little, Brown books.
All smiles: President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden during an event shortly Obama was elected President for the first time
Sitting opposite the most powerful man in the world: In her book Mastromonaco recounts her experience as Obama’s right-hand woman and also reflects on how she secured the role