Obama reconnects with kid in famous photo

Former President Barack Obama held a video call with Jacob Philadelphia, who, at 5 years old, was captured touching the then-president’s hair after asking if it was similar to his own, in an iconic 2009 photo.

Video Transcript



BARACK OBAMA: Is that Jacob?


BARACK OBAMA: It's Barack Obama, man. Do you remember me?

JACOB PHILADELPHIA: Yeah, I remember you telling me that your hair was going to be gray next time.

BARACK OBAMA: And I was not lying.

This gentleman here, Mr. Philadelphia, who was a Marine, who had served with the National Security Council, so he comes, and he brings us two little boys, his wife. This young man, the older brother, he's very serious, and he's asking me questions about weapon systems and the budget process. And clearly, he's been studying.

This young man, Jacob, he has a different kind of question. He's kind of standing there looking at me for a second, but then he says, is your hair like mine? I go, well, you want to check and see?

And I leaned down, and I said, go ahead, touch it. And right as he was putting his hand on top of my head, Pete Souza, the White House photographer, took the picture. I said, well, what do you think? And he says, yeah, it's good. I think that's pretty much what I got.

Well, listen, I want to catch up with you, because we found out that you were going to be graduating this month. And I thought, how can it be that little boy that I was talking to in the Oval Office now is suddenly about to graduate from high school? Tell me what you've been doing. It seems as if you've been traveling around a lot, and you ended up going to high school in Uganda.

JACOB PHILADELPHIA: Yes, my dad joined the State Department.

BARACK OBAMA: Right, so he got a bunch of various posts. And sometimes, that's hard moving from place to place. How's the experience been traveling?

JACOB PHILADELPHIA: It's kind of difficult, but at the end of the day, we get to see a lot of things that a lot of other kids don't get the chance to.

BARACK OBAMA: My understanding is you're going to be going to University of Memphis, huh?

JACOB PHILADELPHIA: Yeah, that's the plan.

BARACK OBAMA: Do you know what you want to study?

JACOB PHILADELPHIA: Yeah, I'm doing political sciences.

BARACK OBAMA: I think the White House visit clearly inspired you, I hope.

JACOB PHILADELPHIA: Yes, it really has.

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