Michelle Obama

From the silly to the somber, White House photos show 2012 highlights

Jan. 4, 2013 at 2:22 PM ET

It was quite a year for the Obama White House as the president crisscrossed the country on the campaign trail to win re-election in November, stopping along the way to slow-jam the news, take adorable pictures with kids, share sweet moments with the first lady, and respond to a series of tragedies.

This week, official White House photographer Pete Souza released his highlights from 2012, posting the candid snapshots to Flickr. There were playful moments, such as the president showing off his "not impressed" face with Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney or pretending to be caught in a tiny Spider-Man's web, as well as somber times in the wake of superstorm Sandy and the massacre in Newtown, Conn.

Here are a few of the best images, captioned in Souza's own words.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza /
April 24, 2012: The President slow-jams the news.

"We were backstage at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill for the President's appearance on 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.' The President let out a big laugh as he was being briefed by the producers and Mr. Fallon on the 'Slow Jam the News' segment."

The White House /
Jan. 1, 2012: The president goes for a dip.

"A nice way to celebrate the New Year for the President was to jump in the ocean in his native state of Hawaii. He was on his annual Christmas vacation with family and friends, and went swimming at Pyramid Rock Beach in Kaneohe Bay."

"The President reacts as John Brennan briefs him on the details of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The President later said during a TV interview that this was the worst day of his Presidency."

"We were doing an event at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich.," Souza wrote of this photo. "Before speaking, the President was looking at some of the automobiles and exhibits adjacent to the event, and before I knew what was happening he walked onto the famed Rosa Parks bus. He sat in one of the seats, looking out the window for only a few seconds."

"The First Lady reacts as she watches Laura Jarrett and Tony Balkissoon take their vows during their wedding at Valerie Jarrett's home in Chicago."

"Overcome with emotion, eight-year old Make-A-Wish child Janiya Penny reacts just after meeting the President as he welcomes her family to the Oval Office."

"The President pretends to be caught in Spider-Man's web as he greets the Nicholas Tamarin, 3, just outside the Oval Office. Spider-Man had been trick-or-treating for an early Halloween with his father, White House aide Nate Tamarin in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. I can never commit to calling any picture my favorite, but the President told me that this was HIS favorite picture of the year when he saw it hanging in the West Wing a couple of weeks later."

"There was still a little light left in the evening sky as the President and First Lady waved goodbye to President Shimon Peres of Israel following a dinner in his honor at the White House."

"We had just arrived at the helicopter landing zone in Chicago and instead of walking right to the motorcade, the President and First Lady walked past their vehicle to the edge of Lake Michigan to view the skyline of their home town."

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