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Marine One makes a windstorm

The top picture is just terrific. Taken as a set, I think these pictures indicate how good the White House is at setting up photo ops (and, I should add, how dedicated and talented White House press photographers are).

In spite of these pictures, let's not for a moment forget the news context of the president's departure. He was headed to Atlanta to make a major speech on Iraq. Watch the speech, read about it, and register your comments here.

Update @ 12:29 p.m. ET: In an email, my colleague Phaedra Singelis notes, appropriately, that this is "Like shooting fish in a barrel – happens every time." - I know, I know, I just thought this top frame was pretty sweet and worth noting. More importantly, I thought the whole set showed something about White House stagecraft on a day when the president is trying to walk a fine line between saying he has met a campaign promise and looking like he is saying "Mission Accomplished." Read more about that delicate balance at NBC News' First Read.