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12 of the Best White House Photos of 2012

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While 2012 has come and gone, the images taken by White House photographer Pete Souza will last forever—literally. As Souza told Time in October, the Presidential Records Act prohibits him and his team from deleting any photograph.

From those millions of digital files, Souza has culled his favorite photos of 2012 and complied the collection on the White House Flickr account. Below are a few standouts from the year that was. All photo captions are by Souza:

Jan. 24, 2012
"One of the most memorable moments of the year was when the President hugged Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as he walked onto the floor of the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol to deliver his annual State of the Union address." (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Feb. 21, 2012
"Egged on by B.B. King, at right, the President joins in singing 'Sweet Home Chicago' during the 'In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues' concert in the East Room. Participants include, from left: Troy 'Trombone Shorty' Andrews, Jeff Beck, Derek Trucks, B.B. King, and Gary Clark, Jr." (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

March 17, 2012
"David Lienemann made this action photograph of Vice President Joe Biden and his security detail literally running during the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Pittsburgh, Pa." (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

April 18, 2012
"We were doing an event at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. 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." (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

May 1, 2012
"For the President, this was one of the most poignant moments of the his first term. He was visiting wounded warriors in the intensive care unit at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. He had just presented a Purple Heart to Sgt. Chase Haag, who had been injured by an IED just hours before. Sgt. Haag was covered with a blanket and it was difficult to see how badly he was injured. He was also seemingly unconscious, or perhaps just asleep. The President whispered in his ear so not to wake him. Just then, there was a rustling under the blanket and Sgt. Haag, eyes still closed, reached his hand out to shake hands with the President. 'I'll never forget that moment,' someone else in the room later told me." (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

June 18, 2012
"We were in Mexico for G20 Summit. While the President was waiting for Russian President Vladimir Putin to arrive for their bilateral meeting, he stepped outside to talk with Chief of Staff Jack Lew." (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

July 5, 2012
"'Anyone want to try a piece of my strawberry pie,' the President asked those at adjacent tables during a stop for lunch at Kozy Corners restaurant in Oak Harbor, Ohio. A young boy said yes and came over for a big bite of pie." (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Aug. 8, 2012
"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." (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Sept. 14, 2012
"The President grasps the hand of the Secretary of State after his remarks during the ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, marking the return to the United States of the remains of J. Christopher Stevens, U.S. Ambassador to Libya; Sean Smith, Information Management Officer; and Security Personnel Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, who were killed in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya." (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Oct. 26, 2012
"The President pretends to be caught in Spider-Man's web as he greets 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." (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Nov. 15, 2012
"New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg views a map with the President during an aerial tour to view damage from Hurricane Sandy in Breezy Point, the Rockaways and Staten Island in NYC. Also onboard were New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security Secretary." (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Dec. 16, 2012
"Two days after the shootings at Newtown, the President traveled to Connecticut to meet with the victims' families and give remarks at a prayer vigil. The President spent hours greeting family members. Difficult as that was for everyone, the one moment that helped sooth the pain was when he posed for a photo with the siblings and cousins of Emilie Parker, one of the 20 children who died that day in Newtown. I see both sadness and hope in this photograph, and I know after a lot of tears that day, it meant so much to the President that everyone was able to smile for a moment in this family photo. Thanks to the Parker family for allowing us to show this photograph publicly." (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

See all of Souza's favorite photos from 2012 at the White House Flickr page

Mark Micheli is Special Projects Editor for Government Executive Media Group. He's the editor of Excellence in Government Online and contributes to GovExec, NextGov and Defense One. Previously, he worked on national security and emergency management issues with the US Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He's a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and studied at Drake University.

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