Sunday, April 12, 2009

Obama's Portuguese Water Dog: Bo

The Washington Post hasn't done this much digging, probing, and investigative reporting since Watergate.

The story?

The Obamas' dog.

The First Puppy Makes a Big Splash

The identity of the first puppy -- the one that the Washington press corps has been yelping about for months, the one President Obama has seemed to delight in dropping hints about -- leaked out yesterday. This despite White House efforts to delay the news until the big debut planned for Tuesday afternoon.

The little guy is a 6-month-old Portuguese water dog given to the Obama girls as a gift by that Portuguese water dog-lovin' senator himself, Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts. The girls named it Bo -- and let it be noted that you learned that here first. Malia and Sasha chose the name, because their cousins have a cat named Bo and because first lady Michelle Obama's father was nicknamed Diddley, a source said. (Get it? Bo . . . Diddley?)

Bo's a handsome little guy. Well suited for formal occasions at the White House, he's got tuxedo-black fur, with a white chest, white paws and a rakish white goatee.

Clearly, the identity of the dog was information too big to contain. A mysterious Web site called published a picture of a Portie yesterday morning, complete with a Q and A with the dog, which it said was originally named Charlie. The celebrity gossip Web site http://TMZ.comlinked to the picture. So much for the big White House unveiling.

For an Obama team that ran a famously tight-knit press operation during last year's presidential election campaign, it was a sign of how tough it can be to keep a leash on information in Washington.

It's not for lack of trying, though. Bo's story starts sometime around the Ides of March. Word on the street was that the White House was going to plant a vegetable garden. Health gurus had been pushing the Obamas to plant seedlings for months, hoping it would set a good example for children everywhere.

A Washington Post food reporter was making calls, probing, pushing. But the White House was mum. Word filtered out that the exclusive had been promised to the New York Times. But the White House offered The Post, the newspaper that cracked Watergate, a mollifier: A puppy exclusive.

These kinds of arrangements get made all the time in Washington. For a while, the puppy deal seemed to be holding up. Sure, reporters here and there nipped at the story. There were hints that the puppy was a gift. There were reports that the Kennedys were involved -- but the senator's press people professed no knowledge.

I love dogs and cats. And I love seeing the White House pets.

I thought Barney was adorable. God, I miss Barney.

It's nice that Obama kept his promise to give his daughters, Sasha and Malia, a dog.

It's a Portuguese water dog. They named it Bo.


That's enough now.

I don't get the lib media's obsession with the dog. They crossed the line from being interested to being weird. I don't get their obsession with the swing set either.

Get a grip.

Here he is --- Bo Obama.

(White House Photo/Pete Souza)


Back in November, Obama, the president-elect, and Michelle talked with
Barbara Walters at their Chicago home.
The soon-to-be first kids were afraid that the White House wouldn't be a kid friendly, but those fears were dispelled after their visit, Michelle Obama told Walters.

"Malia... said, 'You know, I thought this was was going to be an untouchable place. You know, the kind of place where you can't touch anything... But actually the White House is kind of homey,'" Michelle Obama said.

Like any home, especially one anticipating getting a dog, there was some good natured banter about what kind of dog to get, with Obama objecting to any suggestion that they get a "yappy" little "girly" dog.

He also wanted to be certain that his daughters are going to be willing to "scoop the poop" on the White House lawn.

Obama told Walters that his promise of a dog for Malia and her 7-year-old sister Sasha has produced an avalanche of advice and dog pictures.

"We're getting more advice about this than my economic policy," he said with a laugh. "No doubt about it."

Obama got another suggestion during his sit-down with Walters, who suggested he get a dog like her Cha Cha, a small breed known as a Havanese.

Obama was immediately skeptical.

"But it's like a little yappy dog," the president-elect said.

"Don't criticize," a laughing future first lady Michelle Obama urged.

"It like sits in your lap and things?" Obama asked. "It sounds like a girly dog."

His wife reminded Obama, "We're girls. We have a houseful of girls."

Making an executive decision, Obama announced, "Well, we're going to have a big rambunctious dog of some kind."

Like any potential dog owner, Obama fretted about who would walk the pooch and pick up after it.

Acknowledging that Malia and Sasha are excited about the prospect of getting the pet, the soon-to-be First Dad said, "They're not excited enough to walk the dog, though."

His wife insisted it would become the girls' job. Not just walk the dog, Obama insisted. "And scoop the poop. ... We don't want to litter the White House lawns. So they're going to have to do their job."

I remember watching this interview last year, and I thought no way are those girls going to be out there picking up after the dog. They are not going to be the ones to "scoop the poop," to quote Obama.

In a way, I hope the Washington Post stays obsessed and follows up on the White House dog story. We need more information.

Will Sasha and Malia scoop the poop?



UPDATE: PROMISES, PROMISES: Is Obama dog a rescue or not?
Is Bo a rescued dog or not? Did President Obama keep or break a campaign promise in picking the purebred as the family's new pet?


Ron Russell said...

Where will Bo go for his swim---these dogs are lost without water. Maybe the pool at the national mall.

Mary said...

I think the White House has a pool.