WASHINGTON — From Boston proud to Boston crass.
Boston Red Sox superstar slugger David Ortiz took a selfie with President Barack Obama on Tuesday, jumping in with his cellphone moments before the official White House photo op to honor the World Series champs. “What an honor! Thanks for the #selfie, @BarackObama,” @davidortiz tweeted.
By Wednesday night, the pic had 40,478 retweets and 46,765 favorites.
Ortiz, it turns out, was not just a guy at the White House getting an insiders tour — because Ortiz just signed an endorsement deal with Samsung, the cellphone maker.
When Ortiz saw an opening for a selfie with the president, he took it and posted it on Twitter a short time later. He set up the president to create a photo that Samsung indeed promoted — that makes it an ad. Samsung Mobile U.S. tweeted out after Ortiz posted the selfie on Twitter, “This photo was taken with a #GalaxyNote.”
Ortiz is a champion all right — of greed.
Here’s how it went down:
“Come on, let’s get a good picture together,” Obama said to the assembled team after he was presented with a Red Sox team jersey with “Obama” and “44” on the back.
Presidents routinely welcome championship teams to the White House.
Photos: Boston Red Sox visit the White House
Ortiz was standing next to Obama and made his play.
“Actually, would you mind if I take one of my own?” Ortiz asks as he slid his Samsung cell phone out of his pocket.
“He wants to do a selfie,” Obama joked.
“Yes sir,” Ortiz said as he posed with the president.
I was able to capture Ortiz’s comments thanks to video shot by the Boston Globe’s Steve Silva.
The Boston Globe’s Zuri Berry reported that “Samsung confirmed that it had helped Ortiz take Tuesday’s selfie with President Obama.
“The mobile provider then promoted the picture on Twitter to the company’s 5.2 million followers.”
The Sports Business Journal, a trade publication, headlined a March 31 story “Samsung latest deal for Ortiz as MVP keeps endorsement momentum going.”
On Tuesday — before the event — the Sports Business Journal reported that Samsung wanted “Ortiz to “be its MLB social media insider” and Ortiz will be “tweeting and sending photos on Samsung’s behalf” from the White House.
“When we heard about the visit to the White House, we worked with David and the team on how to share images with fans,” Samsung told the Associated Press. “We didn’t know if or what he would be able to capture.”
I asked a White House spokesman about the selfie and was told, “We didn’t know about it ahead of time.”
Samsung hit the product placement jackpot during the Academy Awards when host Ellen DeGeneres organized a selfie with a group of famous actors — Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, Bradley Cooper were among the celebs — using the Galaxy Note 3 and with more than 3.4 million retweets, made Twitter history.
Samsung also donated $3 million to two charities DeGeneres selected, so it’s clear this kind of publicity is great for them.
White House guests take photos and videos all the time at events. That’s part of the enormous kick and privilege — no matter your politics — of gaining entrée to the White House.
If all Ortiz snapped was routine tourist photos inside the White House — and Samsung wanted to promote them — no one would care that much.
Asking a president to pose with you when you know you have an endorsement deal with the camera maker — sort of duping the president who is doing you a favor by inviting your team to the White House — what jerk does that?