WASHINGTON—Recent side-by-side photographic comparisons of Americans before and after he assumed the presidency have confirmed the stress of Barack Obama's time in the White House has taken a significant toll on the U.S. populace, dramatically accelerating the nation's signs of aging.
"It's striking, really, to see how, after just three years of being president, Barack Obama has markedly aged the country," Beltway observer Andrew Soisson said Wednesday, adding that the stress of watching Obama deal with a stagnant economy, multiple wars, and other crises at home and abroad has left the country with more pronounced wrinkles and significantly grayer hair. "It's a far cry from inauguration day, when a younger, healthier, and more vibrant populace watched Obama take the oath of office."
"Remember Obama's 2008 campaign?" Soisson added. "People were energized and full of spunk and vigor. But you look at pictures of Americans then compared to now and it's like night and day."
Photographic analysis indicates the tremendous burdens of Obama's time in the White House has caused Americans' posture to worsen and their faces to become more careworn and pallid. Moreover, the pictures reveal that a nation once filled with hope has been sapped of its energy, most likely the result of the profound day-in-day-out pressures Americans face every time Obama increases the federal deficit, fails to reverse the Bush-era tax cuts on the wealthy, is unable to address the country's immigration crisis, or breaks a campaign promise, such as closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.
According to health experts, the country's stress can be tempered with proper diet and exercise, but the physical transformation is unavoidable, especially considering the incredible demands that have been placed on Americans throughout Obama's first term.
"Mental strain begets physical wear and tear—that's nothing new," said Dr. Richard Vestum, chief wellness officer at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "But if you have the weight of leading the free world resting on Barack Obama's shoulders, you're experiencing roughly 10 times the anxiety of the average individual in a Western democracy."
"Imagine waking up every morning knowing that Obama has to make the final call on everything from national security to the economy, and is constantly trying to balance those decisions with what is politically advantageous," Vestum added. "That's a very isolating, powerless feeling that would make any citizen appear more haggard."
Vestum said that during each year of the Obama administration, American citizens have aged the equivalent of three ordinary years. He confirmed the aging process is even more severe among the president's die-hard supporters, who, after experiencing three years of lackluster job performance and Obama's compromising of many cherished Democratic initiatives, have aged roughly five years for each "Obama year."
Some experts estimate the Obama presidency may have shaved five to 10 years off the lifespan of Americans.
"Yes, citizens have developed crow's-feet and bags under their eyes, but in their defense, the Obama White House is a pressure cooker for Americans unlike anything most ordinary people will ever experience," Democratic strategist Mitch Kaplan said. "Think about it: You're a United States citizen who has to live with the decision to elect Barack Obama every single day, a decision that constantly affects the entire planet. You'd only sleep four or five hours a night, too."
Sources have confirmed Obama's presidency is not unique in causing rapid aging. George W. Bush's eight years in office left the U.S. populace a wrinkled, shriveled shell of its former self, and the nation aged approximately six years in a mere 18 months as a result of Bill Clinton's sex scandal. Additionally, despite his best efforts, more than 600,000 Americans are believed to have died prematurely when Abraham Lincoln served as commander in chief.
"Being an American citizen and having the fate of the free world in the hands of one of these guys is certainly not easy," said 43-year-old Toledo, OH resident Henry Kessler, who, since Obama took office, has lost a majority of his hair and now walks with a slight hitch in his step. "And in the case of Barack Obama, the longer he's president, the more worried I am about enduring serious, long-term health problems."
"Thankfully, it only has to last until next January," he added.
Medical experts agree the overwhelming stress of a Mitt Romney presidency would kill the entire populace within seconds of his inauguration.