Tales from the Trail

Obamas narrow choices on family dog

USA/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.

For more Reuters political news, click here.

- Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Obama family visits the Lincoln Memorial on Jan. 10.)

Barney bites reporter

WASHINGTON – Word of warning to President-Elect Barack Obama, you probably don’t want to pet First Dog Barney when you visit the White House on Monday.

President George W. Bush’s Scottish Terrier was not feeling too friendly on Thursday when a reporter tried to say hello and pet him on the White House driveway.

Barney snarled and chomped down on Reuters Television correspondent Jon Decker’s index finger, causing some minor bleeding. White House medical staff attended to Decker’s injury and he will require a tetanus shot.

First Dog tradition to continue under Obama

WASHINGTON – Worry not dog lovers, the White House will still have a “First Dog” under a Barack Obama administration.******Obama had promised that whether or not he won the White House, his daughters Sasha and Malia could get a dog.******”Sasha and Malia, I love you both more than you can imagine.  And you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us,” Obama said at the start of his victory speech. ******His predecessors dating back several administrations had dogs and yes, a few cats occupied the White House too.******Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden, is also getting in on the act. He told reporters traveling with him earlier that his wife had promised him a “big dog” if he got elected.******Jill Biden had taped pictures of different dogs on the back of the seat in front of him on his campaign plane to inspire the candidate as he criss-crossed the country in the final sprint to election day.******”Jill had said the only way you are getting a dog is if you are president … we didn’t think about vice president,” said Biden. “She said at least if you live in the White House you are home.”******He dropped out of the presidential race but when Obama asked him to join the ticket, his wife Jill said if he did so she would let him have the dog he wanted.******Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.******- Additional reporting by Sue Pleming******- Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Obama family emerges on stage at victory rally in Chicago)