Both Leonardo DiCaprio and Barack Obama have been named 2008 GQMen of the Year,” each with his own cover. But here’s GQ deputy editor Michael Hainey on MSNBC just now describing to anchor Peter Alexander how Obama and DiCaprio are not alike:

HAINEY:….[F]or us at GQ, we thought [Obama] really epitomized the GQ man and the new man in America. It’s a completely obvious choice to go with him.

ALEXANDER: From what I have understood you guys had two minutes to take these photos of him between campaign stops when it happened…He’s extremely photogenic, he’s charismatic, give us the back story of that. You have two minutes to put a guy on the front cover I’m guessing there’s stress overload at GQ headquarters.

HAINEY: It’s funny, we had other guys like Leo DiCaprio who you get four hours with. Barack Obama, we met him in Philadelphia. He said, look, you’ve got two minutes. Our photographer took a Bed, Bath and Beyond sheet and hung it in the doorway. The president-elect came off stage after a speech and stood right there like the celebrity that he is, to invoke John McCain’s phrase, he hit his mark, gave a smile, shot one roll of film and there’s your cover. It goes to show you, I think, the guy can do anything.

(Stand in front of a bed sheet and smile? Check. Next up: tackling Iraq, Afghanistan, the economy, global warming…)

The exchange concluded with Hainey saying that yes, right now, “people can’t get enough” of Obama but that “once he takes office then, I think things, you know, he’s on his own” (consider yourself warned, President-Elect Obama!) but, in conclusion,”he’s obviously just a completely fantastic person and just the real GQ guy.”

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.