WASHINGTON - U.S. President-elect Barack Obama says his family's decision about a family dog has been more difficult than choosing a new Commerce secretary, but he, his wife and daughters are getting closer to a decision.
"We're closing in on it," Obama said in an interview with ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos". He said his daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, had decided they wanted a medium-sized dog and were looking closely at a labradoodle or a Portuguese water hound.
Obama also said the girls wanted a shelter dog.
The president-elect promised his daughters during the campaign that whether he won or lost the election, he would grant their wish for a dog.
Their choices of dog breeds are limited because they need to pick one that is hypoallergenic because of Malia's allergies.
"This has been tougher than finding a Commerce secretary," Obama said. His initial pick for that post, Bill Richardson, withdrew from consideration saying a legal inquiry in his home state would have complicated his Senate confirmation for the job.
The Obamas, who are staying at the posh Hay-Adams hotel across from the White House and will move into the executive mansion in just over a week, are also looking at local Washington churches.
The Obamas used to attend the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, but left after a controversy developed over controversial comments by Trinity's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
"One of the things that Michelle and I will be doing is probably visiting some churches and seeing what's comfortable," Obama said.
"It is tougher as president," adding that visiting churches can be difficult because of security involved when he goes anywhere within Washington.
"You don't want to subject your fellow church members, the rest of the congregation, to being magged (walking through metal detectors) every time you go to church. And so, we're going to try to be balancing, not being disruptive to the city, but also saying we want to be part of Washington D.C.," Obama said.