Up close and personal: The view from Obama’s cameraman

Jake Tapper, Richard Coolidge, Sherisse Pham & Sarah Burke
Power Players

Political Punch

Different presidents put their stamps on new technology in different ways: Roosevelt used radio with his fireside chats in a way that nobody had done before; John F. Kennedy's ability to connect with the American people through television was the first of its kind; and whatever you think of President Obama, he has, at least in the near term, changed the way presidents will use the internet, especially internet video. Obama brought to the White House its first ever official videographer, Arun Chaudhary. Chaudhary left the position last year, and out with a new book, First Cameraman, detailing his experience behind the lens.

Chaudhary was originally part of Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, shooting and editing videos for the campaign's website. Going from the campaign to the White House was a big change, said the cameraman.

"It went from being part of a messaging team to being, you know, an agent of history, and I did try to take that seriously," said Chaudhary. Part of that, he said was showing a more realistic view of the presidency. He highlighted aspects of the job that are not as glamorous as they seem, like the endless drudgery of travel.

By creating "West Wing Week," a weekly video review of what the president has done, Chaudhary and the Obama administration were also able to bypass traditional media and go directly to the president's supporters.

"It did allow us to communicate in a different way with the American people than we can with the press, and I think to do things that you guys covering the White House can't do," said Chaudhary.

What key moments did Chaudhary's camera capture? And which politicians does he think would benefit from a personal videographer? Check out this week's Political Punch to find out.