When someone - usually a male someone
- decides to run for public office, one of the things he is expected to do during the campaign is kiss the babies of female potential voters. Somehow this will prove
that he's not evil and can be trusted to run the [country/state/county/city/dog pound] properly.
Subversions in which the baby is shaken, autographed, or otherwise mishandled by a confused candidate are common
Related to Friend to All Children
and Photo Op With The Dog
Film - Animation
- A The Bash Street Kids strip has the teacher tell the class that they will be electing a head boy by democratic vote. Plug references the trope saying that politicians get votes by kissing babies, so he goes to kiss some at a nursery. But because Plug's ugly, the babies scream and gets thrown out without a kiss.
Film - Live-Action
- In An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, Cat R. Waul kisses Yasha to convince the mice that he's harmless.
- In Metroman's first appearance in Megamind. He juggles some babies, then kisses one of them in front of a huge crowd (who already loves him).
- In The Shaggy DA Wilby Daniels decides to run for District Attorney in order to clean up the corruption in the town. At one point he's talking with a female voter with a perambulator; the kid inside has a dirty, sticky face, but the woman gives him a look waiting for him to kiss her baby. He does so, leaving him with a facefull of chocolate. Just at that moment a photographer from the local paper decides to take Wilby's picture.
- In the opening of The Emperor's New Groove, Kuzco is presented with three babies to kiss. He simply stamps them with a kiss mark stamper.
- In The Hunt for Red October, NSA advisor Jeffrey Pelt tells Jack Ryan "I'm a politician, which means that I'm a cheat and a liar. And if I'm not kissing babies, I'm stealing their lollipops.".
- In the 2012 film The Campaign the two candidates for office get into a fight over which is going to kiss a particular baby. Will Ferrell's character ends up punching the baby in the struggle.
- In The Great Dictator, Adenoid Hinkel kisses some babies after a rally. The baby pisses on him.
Live Action TV
- In one science fiction short story, this caused an interstellar war. Upon First Contact with an alien race (that looked like teddy bears), an astronaut decided to do this. Unfortunately, humans looked like a kind of animal on the alien race's home planet that had the habit of carrying off babies to eat them and the astronaut's motives were misconstrued.
- Bad Kitty for President makes use of this trope, as it's an election parody where Bad Kitty is running for president of the neighborhood cats. The narrator brings up the kissing babies trope and has kitty kiss the baby of the humans she lives with.
- Mentioned in a MAD Magazine article from 1962 (also an early version of the Russian Reversal): "Russian politics can best be understood by comparing them with American politics. For instance, in America, politicians have to kiss babies, and if they don't, the mothers can take their offices away from them. In Russia, the system is somewhat different. To get food, mothers have to kiss politicians and if they don't, the politicians can take their babies away from them."
- Invoked by the cover art of Tankard's Two Faced album, which shows a literally two-faced politician holding a baby.
- Pearls Before Swine made a parody of this. Rat was trying to win the election, but he couldn't come to a baseball event, so he sent Pig in his place to kiss a baby and throw a baseball out to the field. This cost Rat the election, because Pig kissed the baseball, and threw a baby out to the field!
- Bizarro (by Piraro) comic for April 24th, 2012◊. A Funny Animal cat politician is shown licking a kitten held by a female supporter.
Real Life (especially notable examples only)
- In the iOS game Highborn, when campaigning for Foozle, Monty orders his children to go out and hold a rally. Being dragons, he has to remind them to just kiss the babies, not eat them.
- Vladimir Putin was also known to kiss fish for this purpose.
- Punk rock vocalist Jello Biafra ran for mayor of San Francisco in the late 1970's and inverted this trope: he kissed hands and shook babies.
- Romanian dictator Ceaucescu used to do this. Problem: He was a germophobe, so the kids had to be... prepared before that.
- Notably, Andrew Jackson was the first president to be offered a baby to kiss. He refused, instead complimenting the infant and then handing it over to his Secretary of War to kiss instead.