|Official White House Photo by Pete Souza|
President Barack Obama talks with an employee as he selects a bone for Bo, the
Obama family dog, during a stop at a PetSmart store in Alexandria on Wednesday.
By John Arundel
ALEXANDRIA, VA. - Ho Ho Ho. Even the Leader of the Free World goes to the mall every so often, especially when it's just before the Holidays, the kids and First Lady are away, and he can sneak away for some clandestine shopping.
That is, as clandestine as it can get when you're tailed by a few dozen members of the media watching your every purchase and then putting it on TV and the web, almost instantaneously.
|Photo Courtesy of the Obama Diary |
"Okay, Bo, don't get too personal here," Obama
admonished, holding tightly to Bo's leash.
And when the closest shopping center to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is Potomac Yard in Alexandria, the President of the United States comes here.
Left home alone at The White House as his family vacations in Hawaii, Barack Obama and first dog "Bo" headed on a Christmas shopping spree Wednesday in Alexandria, leaving behind for about an hour a stalemate with Congress and delicate negotiations with Republican lawmakers to keep payroll taxes from going up in the new year.
According to press pool reports, the Presidential motorcade left a soggy South Lawn at 12:45 p.m. for shopping and lunch in Alexandria amidst the legislative chaos back in DC.
About 15 minutes later his motorcade arrived at Potomac Yard, where Obama headed into the Pet Smart store with his dog "Bo." A shirt sleeved Obama browsed the aisles like any other Holiday shopper, as Bo, who appeared to waiting journalists to be sizing up a small brown "standard poodle" named Cinnamon.
"Okay, Bo, don't get too personal here," Obama admonished, holding tightly to Bo's leash. He pulled out a $50 bill to pay for two items, one a large dog bone. The total was slightly more than $41.
After a quick stroll at Potomac Yard, Obama entered the nearby Best Buy at 1:10 p.m. "This stop is for the girls now," Obama told reporters as he went in.
After a round of handshaking he headed straight to the Wii section, where he bought a Just Dance 3 game for his daughters. "The girls beat me every time on these dance games," Obama said, "but you'll never get a picture of me (playing) because I get graded F every time."
According to pool reports, Obama also bought a pair of $50 iTunes gift cards and an unidentified game. The tab came to 194.48.
"Let's see if my credit card still works," Obama joked. It did.
|Photo Courtesy of the Obama Diary |
President Obama picks up some pies at the Del
Ray Pizzeria. There were handshakes and a
little sports banter.
After more grip-and-grins outside, Obama's motorcade left at 1:20 p.m. for Del Ray. A few minutes later, Obama arrived via side streets at the intersection of East Del Ray and Mount Vernon to pick up some pies at the Del Ray Pizzeria. There were more handshakes and a little sports banter.
Minutes later, Obama emerged with three large pizzas. Then he worked the crowd on all four corners of the intersection plus a fifth cluster of squealing well-wishers a bit further down Del Ray. "I love you!" someone screamed.
Obama encountered some friendly criticism over a Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline he has delayed, creating a jobs issue for Capitol Hill Republicans. "I just said I disagreed with him on the pipeline but I love what he's doing for the country otherwise," John Passacantando of Alexandria told an AP reporter after meeting Obama.
One group of onlookers that Obama met invited him to their office holiday party at their Internet development company. But the president politely declined.
Obama's motorcade, including Bo, rolled back to The White House at 1:45, arriving at the South Lawn just after 2 p.m. with Presidential holiday shopping mission accomplished.
Based on White House Pool and Press Reports
To see more photos of Obama's trip to Alexandria Wednesday, click here: http://theobamadiary.com/2011/12/21/christmas-shopping-updating/