Much like all of those reliefs that you see in churches, with Christ having a halo around his head or Mary (if your Catholic) or Brian. You know, the guy from Monty Python. Kinda leads you to believe they are all wearing space helmets, and are from Klobob.
Either way, it looks like a picture that my Grandma (rest her soul) would look at and immediately begin preaching what a wonderful man he is, and that he must be touched by God, because he has "The Aura".
I don't think this kind of image is specific to Obama (or, taking into account earlier posts, to US presidents). As a matter of fact, I particularly enjoy this image of Kazakhstan (yes, the land of Borat) president Nazarbaev: http://img.lenta.ru/news/2009/02/02/ng/picture.jpg . Apparently the guys who run the Russian news feed I read have the same feeling as they use the image almost every time they mention the guy. Which always makes me wonder if the design of Kazakhstan flag (behind Nazarbaev; introduced during his presidency) was intentional...
I can't even remember the number of times we saw similar pictures of Bush with halos and crowns. It's unseemly, but seems to be completely bipartisan.
If people want to use this as a data point so they can go on pretending that the media haven't been critical enough of Obama, no number of facts will stop them, but the simple truth is that it's been done as recently as the last presidency.
one of the funniest newpaper front pages I've ever seen in my life (think it was USA Today) was around 94/95 and had a caption about Bill Clinton speaking at a breast cancer event - what made it hillarious (nearly spewed Diet Coke on my monitor) was the combination of the expression on his face (somewhere between happy & surprised) and the fact that both of his hands were chest-high, extended about a foot out with his fingers in cupped/catcher's mitt shapes.
don't know if that was a joke someone slipped through or an oops/nobody noticed (given the press' general adoration of him I'd guess the latter) but I was ROTFLMAO!