Our answer is a qualified “yes” — but based on far different reasons than those being hammered away on by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and other Republicans.
The former presidential candidate from Minnesota said she thinks having a caretaker/dogwalker assigned to Bo is one example of lavish and excessive spending at the White House.
“We are also the ones who are paying for someone to walk the president’s dog — paying for someone to walk the president’s dog,” she said over the weekend (serving as her own echo).
Bachman, who has a beagle named Boomer, made the remarks at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, held just outside Washington .
We, too, think the president should walk his dog — not as a money-saving measure, but because we think those peaceful moments of solace and reflection (assuming Bo is not a tugger) will make him a better president.
Walking the dog not only clears the head, it reminds one of what’s important in life. It’s good for the brain, it keeps the blood circulating, it lets you smell the roses and it calms the soul. I want a president with a calm soul, or at least as calm as the office permits.
While I think Obama and family should walk their own dog at every opportunity, I find nothing wrong with the White House having a full time dog walker on staff — even if, as some not 100 percent confirmed reports suggest, it”s a $100,000- a-year position.
(Also, I offer to fill that position should it ever become vacated — or even on a fill-in basis.)
As reported on the CNN blog, Political Ticker, Bachman, in her speech, blasted what she called “a lifestyle that is one of excess.”
“Now we find out that there are five chefs on Air Force One. There are two projectionists who operate the White House movie theater … They regularly sleep at the White House in order to be regularly available in case the first family wants a really, really late show. And I don’t mean to be petty here, but can’t they just push the play button?”
The Obamas, though always very well dressed, don’t strike me as lavish, and I don’t think Bo experiences the same amenities of, say, Queen Elizabeth’s corgis.
Our nation’s First Dog deserves, at least in some ways, royal treatment — even amid all the fiscal cliffs and sequesters that, dramatic as they are, were created by lavishly living (often) politicians out of touch with the real world.
Dogs help keep the word real. I want my president to keep it real. So I want my president to walk the dog whenever possible.
If it comes down to tending to a world crisis and taking Bo outside to pee, by all means, tend to the world crisis, and let the highly paid dogwalker handle the duty, as well as the doody.
(My far bigger questions about all this are whether the Obamas personally scoop Bo’s poop from the White House lawn, and whether Bachmann picks up Boomer’s droppings at her home, valued at $1.27 million, on the 18th hole of the Stoneridge Golf Course.)
Grabbing and bagging a handful of feces is how you keep it really, really real.
But back to our main point. Routine and mundane as the task might seem, there is much to be gained from time spent walking your own dog. (Just ask Leon Panetta.)
In trying times, when the head gets too clogged by all the stress, there is no better way to return it to a state of reason and clarity than the simple pleasure of walking the dog – whether you’re a queen, a president, an assembly line worker, or even unemployed.
(Photos: Bo and the president, official White House photo by Pete Souza; Michele and Marcus Bachmann, with Boomer, AP photo by Craig Lassig)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 18th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, barack, bo, bo obama, dog, dog walker, dog walking, dogs, first dog, first family, fiscal cliff, lavish, lifestyle, michele bachmann, obama, pets, politics, poop, president, republicans, scoop, sequester, spending, taxes, taxpayers, walking, white house, who walks bo
Here’s Bo Obama, tip-toeing through the White House to check out the First Family’s holiday decorations — many of which he inspired.
The video was released by the White House yesterday.
The seasonal decorations include 40 “Bo-flake” ornaments hanging from the trees, a life-sized replica of Bo in the East Garden Room, and a larger than life, edible Bo in front of a 300-pound gingerbread house located in the State Dining Room.
About 90,000 visitors are expected to go through the White House this holiday season.
You can find out more about the 2012 White House Holiday celebrations, including the special tributes to troops, veterans and military families at wh.gov/holidays.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 30th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bo, bo obama, christmas, decorations, dog, dogs, holiday, obama, pets, portuguese water dog, president, video, white house
This time, President Obama told Sasha and Malia how proud he was of them during his victory speech — but that they shouldn’t expect a second dog.
Looking at his word choice, though, he didn’t seem to totally rule it out:
“… And I am so proud of you guys. But I will say that, for now, one dog’s probably enough.”
Between the “probably” and the “for now,” he seems to leave the door open.
You can read the full transcript of his victory speech a lot of places — even on Fox News.
According to the latest numbers, Obama garnered 303 electoral votes, compared to 206 for Romney, the Republican candidate who, long ago on a family vacation, once transported his Irish setter, Seamus, in a crate on the roof of his car.
Last night’s victory means Bo, the Obama’s Portuguese water dog, gets four more years in the White House, whose lawn, we’d note, seems plenty big for another dog or two.
(Photos: Top photo, Associated Press; Bo photo, White House)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, barack obama, bo, dogs, election, malia, obama, pets, portuguese water dog, presidency, president, reelection, results, sasha, seamus, speech, victory
Here’s another: Metro Paws LLC is offering biodegradable dog poop bags emblazoned with the candidate of your choice — Romney or Obama, whoever you like the least.
They’re calling the marketing drive ”Smear Campaign.”
Here’s how they described their thinking in an email to ohmidog!:
“Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, we can all agree that politics these days are a big stinkin’ mess. Smear Campaign poop bags give you the chance to let out a little political frustration every time you pick up after your pup.”
Political Dog Poop Bags can be ordered here, and sell for $14.99 for a package of four rolls, or 80 bags.
Metro Paws LLC is a New York-based family business that described itself as being “dog owners first and entrepreneurs second.”
Smear Campaign, the company says, is the only political degradable poop bag on the market. Metro Paws teamed up with RS Kmiec Design to make the bags. “Our message is fun, whimsical, and yet calls for all Americans to vote,” the website says.
They’re available in some stores, including New York’s Who’s Your Doggy?, a pet store in Fort Greene that is keeping track of which bags sell the most.
“Whoever sells the most will lose the Presidential election,” predicted the store’s manager, Julia Rosenfeld.
As of Monday afternoon, Patch.com in Fort Greene reported, Romney’s red poop bags were outselling their blue Democratic counterparts 24-8, according to a tally written on a dry erase board behind the store’s register.
“There’s been a little bit confusion among some customers because they see that Romney is winning. We have to explain that it’s people voting for Romney to pick up poop with,”Rosenfeld said. “We’re running out of Romney.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 17th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bags, biodegradable, dog, dogs, election, feces, fort greene, metro paws, new york, obama, pet, pets, political, political dog poop bags, poop, president, presidential, products, romney, smear campaign, waste, whos your doggy
President Obama made his first public reference to Seamus — the dog his opponent once strapped to the roof of his car for a family trip — while on the campaign trail in Iowa.
Appearing in Oskaloosa, a town named after all those actors who were nominated but didn’t win Academy Awards — (that’s a joke) — Obama referred to Seamus, though not by name, while discussing energy policy, specifically windmills.
Appearing in front of the Nelson Pioneer Farm and Museum and touting the job-creating potential of wind energy in Iowa, Obama criticized Romney for saying, “You can’t drive a car with a windmill on it.”
“Now, I don’t know if he’s actually tried that,” Obama said. “I know he’s had other things on his car.”
Romney in 1983 toted his Irish setter on the roof of the family station wagon, in a crate, on a trip from Boston to Ontario, Canada, for a family vacation.
In response to Obama’s remark, reported by ABC News and many others, the Romney campaign said the president “continues to embarrass himself and diminish his office with his un-presidential behavior.”
“This election is about creating jobs, turning around our economy and helping the middle class. The President’s policies have failed on all counts and he will do anything to distract from his abysmal record,” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in a written statement.
Obama’s appearance in Iowa came as the GOP nominee campaigned in coal country.
“Gov. Romney said, let’s end the tax credits for wind energy production. Let’s get rid of them. He said that new sources of energy, like wind, are imaginary. His running mate calls them a fad,” Obama said
The president, who is pushing Congress to extend a production tax credit for wind energy companies, added, “These jobs aren’t a fad. These are good jobs. And they’re a source of pride that we need to fight for.”
(Photo: Carolyn Kaster / AP)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, barack obama, campaign, car, crate, dogs, energy, family, iowa, irish setter, mitt romney, obama, pets, politics, presidency, president, presidential, reference, romney, romney's dog, roof, seamus, speech, station wagon, strapped, trip, windmills
So given that today is Take Your Dog to Work Day, and given that’s the practice nearly every day in the New York studios of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, it’s not surprising that, for its 15th anniversary special issue, The Bark magazine features the dogs of the show’s staff members on its cover.
Late last year, The Daily Show — it has more than a few fans of the magazine on its staff, and vice versa – invited The Bark to come meet the many dogs that roam its workplace.
Editor-in-Chief, Claudia Kawczynska jumped at the opportunity — and the result is a 10-page exclusive on the dogs of The Daily Show in this month’s issue.
The magazine also proclaimed The Daily Show the nation’s dog-friendliest workplace.
Kawczynska reports that The Daily Show officially turned dog friendly about 15 years ago when production manager Georgia Pappas asked permission to bring her Tibetan Terrier, Cosmo, to work with her.
Given both Jon Stewart and the studio’s building manager, Adriane Truex, are big dog fans, permission was granted, opening the door for other staff members to bring their dogs along to work. Today, dogs are welcomed in Jon Stewart’s office and just about everywhere else, Kawczynska notes:
“These days, the first thing new employees, show guests and visitors notice are the dogs. Free-ranging and ubiquitous, they have become an integral part of the office landscape: roaming, playing or lying about, with toys scattered everywhere. They attend staff meetings, share office chairs, charm the celeb guests –in short, The Daily Show is pretty much dog nirvana.”
About a dozen dogs might be there on any given day — and the regulars include Parker, Kweli and Ally. (You can find a slide show featuring all of them here.)
Co-executive producer Jen Flanz said the inviting atmosphere inspired her to adopt Parker, a Lab mix, from Manhattan Animal Care & Control. The only downside, Flanz noted, is that “our dogs are used to being here, being around people all day, running around and getting attention from a hundred people. So when we have time off, she bounces off the walls. They get so much activity and stimulation here.”
Artistic coordinator, Justin Chabot got his Golden Retriever, Kweli, when he was still a student in Boston. Kweli accompanies him almost everywhere, and has been trained to stick by his side when off-leash, even in Times Square. Kweli has also mastered riding on the back of Chabot’s motorcycle.
Supervising producer Tim Greenberg’s dog, Ally, a rescued Pointer-mix, is a more recent addition. Ally had fear issues and initally he only brought her to the office on slow days. Gradually, he added more time to her “work” schedule. He thinks the office visits have helped build up her self-confidence.
Good training is essential to making the office-dog dynamic work, the article notes, and employees see it as a privilege they don’t want to lose.
“We all feel this responsibility to keep the dogs pretty well-behaved,” Flanz noted. “If someone comes in and thinks this is a free-for-all, they would be mistaken.”
Greenberg noted that ”like the show itself, there really is a strict discipline underlying what looks like a free-form.”
“From my perspective, it seemed that the office camaraderie, conviviality and general bonhomie — laughter can be heard everywhere — inspires and affects both the people and the dogs … Everyone I spoke with agrees that having dogs as co-workers may have something to do with the show’s ongoing success. Not only are they great de-stressors, good for morale, comforting and relaxing, the dogs contribute their own dose of inimitable comic relief to a group that’s focused on creating and showcasing comedy”
Some guests on the show get more excited about the dogs than others. Those who staff members said most seemed to “get-down-with-the-dogs” are Jennifer Aniston, NBC news anchor Brian Williams, designer guy Tim Gunn, Ricky Gervais, Betty White and President Obama, a senator at the time.
The only guest to ever bring a dog on the set has been Ted Koppel, who came with his granddog, a black pup named Pepper.
Kawczynska got to meet Stewart, but his two French Bulldogs, Smudge and Barkley, were not there.
(Photos: Magazine cover, a French bulldog named Zuzu, and group shot of staff and dogs; by KC Bailey, courtesy of The Bark)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 22nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, betty white, Claudia Kawczynska, comedy central, daily show, dog, dog friendly, dogs, editor, guests, interviews, jennifer aniston, john oliver, jon stewart, magazine, obama, pets, staff, studio, take your dog to work day, ted koppel, television, the bark, the daily show, tim gunn, visit, work, workplace, wyatt cenac
In one Internet ad, the first family’s Portuguese water dog pops into the frame, with his tongue out, as the words “Join Pet Lovers for Obama” appear.
The Bo Obama Internet ad links to a sign-up page, giving readers an opportunity to donate to the campaign.
According to the Washington Post, Bo may be the first “first dog” to emerge as a central player in a presidential re-election campaign.
In 2004, George W. Bush’s campaign made a tongue-in-cheek video featuring Barney, Bush’s Scottish terrier, advising the Republican National Convention on how to attract the “canine vote.”
But Bo’s appearances – coinciding with his third anniversary as a member of the Obama family (it’s Saturday) — are hoped to prove more viral and hard hitting.
They also seem to be an attempt to capitalize on the Crate-gate controversy dogging Mitt Romney, who transported his Irish setter Seamus in a crate atop the family station wagon for a 12-hour trip to Canada in the 1980s.
Republicans have fired back, pointing out that Obama — as he admits in his 2004 autobiography – ate dog meat as a child in Indonesia.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 3rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ad, advertisement, animals, ate, barack obama, bo, bo obama, campaign, car, crate, dog, dogs, first family, fundraising, internet, mitt romney, obama, obama ate dog, pets, politics, presidential, roof, seamus, white house
But now a Republican pundit — tired of Mitt Romney being bashed for taking his dog for a 12-hour ride on the roof of his car — has seized upon what he sees as a juicy nugget from Obama’s memoirs to fight back.
(That’s the thing about memoirs, anything you say in them can and will be used against you.)
“Say what you want about Romney, but at least he only put a dog on the roof of his car, not the roof of his mouth,” conservative blogger Jim Treacher writes in his column for the Daily Caller, DC Trawler.
In a further warning to “libs,” Treacher, with all the emotional maturity of a third grader, adds: “And whenever you bring up the one, we’re going to bring up the other.”
In the book, Obama, referring to his time living with his stepfather, Lolo Soetoro in Indonesia, writes:
“With Lolo, I learned how to eat small green chill peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy). Like many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths. He explained that a man took on the powers of whatever he ate: One day soon, he promised, he would bring home a piece of tiger meat for us to share.”
Obama was about seven and living in a different culture when he ate what everybody else was eating. Romney was an adult, with children, when he strapped his Irish setter, Seamus, in a crate, to the car roof for a 12-hour ride to Canada.
One wouldn’t expect a seven-year-old, being raised in an environment where eating dog is culturally acceptable among some, to take a stand against the practice any more than one would expect one of Romney’s children to stand up and say, “Dad, this is stupid and wrong, don’t do it.”
It’s not like Obama went out and killed, skinned, gutted and grilled a neighborhood dog — as Romney supporter and fund raiser Fred Malek was once accused of doing (before the charges were dropped against all but one of the friends with whom he was partying at the time). Cultural differences being what they are, eating dog in Pusan is one thing, eating dog in Peoria is quite another.
Repulsive as I find eating dogs, disgusted as I was seeing them caged, sold and butchered to order on the streets of South Korea, I kept reminding myself when I was there that I was visiting another culture.
A small and declining minority of the population still eats farm-raised dog meat. I would like them to stop doing that. But, last time I checked, I wasn’t in charge of dictating the customs of foreign lands. And I don’t think every seven year old in Seoul who eats what their parents put in front of them is evil.
As political ammo goes, Treacher is shooting blanks.
(Top graphic: rightwingnews.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, asia, asian, barack obama, blog, campaign, car, conservative, crate, cultures, customs, daily caller, dc trawler, dog eating, dogs, dogs against romney, dreams from my father, eating dog, fred malek, indonesia, irish setter, jim treacher, mitt romney, obama, obama ate dog, pets, presidential, republican, ride, right wing, roof, seamus, south korea
Most voters think it’s wrong to carry a dog on the roof of a car, even in a crate, but a majority also say a candidate having done so — as Mitt Romney did — would not have an effect on their vote, according to a new poll.
The poll found 68 percent say they think that it is inhumane to put the family dog on top of the car for a long trip.
Stunningly, 14 percent said they think it’s humane, and 18 percent weren’t sure, according the Huffington Post.
As asked by the polling firm, the question did not specify that it was a 12-hour trip; just a long one.
Nine hundred registered voters were interviewed for the poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP), which is described as a Democratic-leaning firm.
While most voters think putting a dog on the car roof is inhumane, 55 percent said Romney’s 30-year-old action didn’t affect which candidate they would support. More than a third — 35 percent — said it made them less likely to support Romney. Seven percent — and we can only assume they represent the dog haters among us — said it made them more likely to support him.
Among only the people who were already Romney supporters, 17 percent said the Seamus story made them less likely to vote for him, while 75 percent said it didn’t make a difference.
Romney drove his family to Canada for a vacation in 1983 with their Irish setter, Seamus, in a crate fastened to the roof of their station wagon. At one point, Seamus suffered a bout of diarrhea and Romney pulled into a gas station to hose off the dog, crate and car before continuing.
The story was first reported by the Boston Globe in 2007. Last week, Rick Santorum’s campaign finally seized on it: “If you can’t be nice to your dog, who are you going to be nice to?” a Santorum spokesman said.
In the poll, 44 percent of respondents gave President Obama a favorable rating for his treatment of dogs, compared to 20 percent for Romney.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 21st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, campaign, candidates, car, crate, decision, diarrhea, dog, dogs, hose, humane, impact, inhumane, irish setter, mitt romney, obama, opinions, pets, poll, presidential, public policy polling, romney, roof, santorum, seamus, voters
It would be have been a doggone big story, if it were true.
Based on a report from the Star-Advertiser in Honolulu, many media outlets were asking the question yesterday: Was Bo flown back to Washington from Hawaii for the sole purpose of taking part in a photo op with the president during his shopping trip to PetSmart?
On Wednesday, Bo accompanied the president on a shopping trip in Alexandria — and was duly photographed by the press corps.
Clearly, some theorized, the dog must have been flown back home for the photo op.
Or, for those who like conspiracy theories, might there actually be two Bo’s — maybe an original Bo and a cloned Bo — one who serves as the family dog, one who handles the public appearances?
Britain’s Daily Mail, as it’s prone to do, seemed to be breathing most heavily about the possibility of wrongdoing:
” … Michelle Obama’s press office had earlier said Bo would be leaving with the First Lady and her girls for their Hawaii holiday last Saturday… And an island eyewitness said he saw the Portuguese Water Dog taken for a walk earlier this week, ahead of President Obama’s delayed arrival.
“A mistake could have been made by all three news outlets who reported the dog went to Hawaii … But a mystery is presented if at least one of the Chicago Sun-Times, Hawaii TV station KHON 2 and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser were correct.”
The Los Angeles Times asked Michelle Obama’s office and quickly got this answer: “Bo has been in D.C. this whole time.”
The Star-Advertiser in Honolulu yesterday ran a correction on its report that Bo arrived with Michele Obama and the children in Hawaii.
Obama’s not the first president to be wrongly suspected of having the government chauffeur his dog across great distances at great expense.
Republicans accused Franklin D. Roosevelt of leaving his Scottish terrier Fala behind on a trip to the Aleutian Islands, then ordering a U.S. Navy destroyer to go retrieve him.
In a 1944 speech, FDR responded to the charges.
“These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don’t resent attacks, and my family don’t resent attacks — but Fala does resent them. You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I’d left him behind on an Aleutian island and had sent a destroyer back to find him — at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or 20 million dollars — his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since. I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself … But I think I have a right to resent, to object, to libelous statements about my dog!”
You’d think Republicans, and even Sarah Palin, would have learned by now — as Richard Nixon did — that, while bad-mouthing a president is accepted procedure in politics, bad mouthing his dog will only get you bitten.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 23rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bo, checkers, christmas, clone, conspiracy, correction, destroyer, dogs, fala, family, fdr, flown, franklin roosevelt, hawaii, jet, media, mistakes, newspapers, nixon, obama, pets, petsmart, photo op, photographs, portuguese water dog, president, presidents, shopping, trip, washington, wrongdoing