Maybe my memory for this sort of thing isn't that good, but aside from some photos of Kennedy with his shirt off (yachting in the Vineyard, or something), I can't really remember any pics of world leaders baring their pecs for the camera. Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Gorbachev, Blair, Helmut Kohl- nothing really comes to mind.

That is, until now. This last week, Neatorama published a story that Russian President and judo black belt Vladimir Putin took it half-off for the Russian press. Not surprisingly, the buff, topless photos have taken off on the internet. Delighted female constituents have been lighting up the paper's message boards, while the photo's also achieved massive popularity on gay Russian sites. And while some speculate it was a clever PR move to show off the Prez and country's strength to the world, it's funny to see that only one world leader has been baited into striking back: French president Nicholas Sarkozy. Sadly, it was immediately revealed that Sarkozy had various media outlets airbrush his love handles away- a leak that no doubt has taken the wind out of his sales pitch. In any case, I can only think of one other airbushed photo of a leader out there: the fake photo of Chairman Mao swimming, to prove his health and vigor. Does anyone know of any others?

Story via the always fascinating Neatorama.