romneyOh my lord, was this really necessary? A photographer captured one giant face-palm of a photo op with Mitt Romney and a group of school kids. Romney is seen bending over -- and a little girl looks on with great astonishment, mouth wide open. Because of the angle it looks like she's staring at Romney's behind!

The AP published it with just a generic caption saying that Romney was posing with school children. They neglected to add that he was crouching down to pose with the kids, and that the girl's surprise was at the announcement that he'd be posing with them. The AP has since apologized and people are up in arms in defense of Romney. But he's a public figure. What about this innocent girl? Shouldn't she be the one getting an apology?

The photo was posted by a BuzzFeed writer. Then Gawker picked it up and invited readers to caption the photo. The responses so far are hilarious -- that is, as long as you forget that there's someone's daughter in that photo. I can't help cringing for her and her parents. She must be so embarrassed!

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Some of the captions aren't too bad. "Let me show you what I think of your Big Bird backpack." "It's a beautiful moment...she's witnessing the birth of Republican policy." But others ...

Romney comes to find out it's illegal in Virginia to show your clothed ass to under 18 girls. He will be charged and branded as a sex offender.

Really?!?

Look at the size of that flip-flop!

Ew.

Obviously this is a grand opportunity for people to make jokes at Romney's expense, and as a public figure running for office, that just comes with the territory -- same goes for Obama. But to bring a little girl into this is just thoughtless. Poor thing. If this goes viral, she's going to have a horrible week. (Too late?)

Her parents are probably pissed. I know I would be. They probably signed a release form giving the press permission to use images of their daughter. At least I hope so. Reportedly this was a last-minute photo op at a school, so forms may have been signed after the fact. But they wouldn't have had any idea her image would be used like this!

Sure wish someone had thought things through a little before releasing this photo to the Internet wolves. Hey, I'm about the most tasteless person I know -- if there's an inappropriate joke to be made, I'm only too happy to volunteer. But there should be limits, like other people's kids.

What do you think of the photo, harmless or shameless?

 

Image via Austen Hufford/Flickr