April 12, 2009 — -- Arguably, it was more talked about than the top Treasury post, more debated than the Department of Homeland Security: Who would be America's first pooch?
The president's daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, have named the black-and-white puppy Bo, according to The Washington Post, because their cousins have a cat named Bo and first lady Michelle Obama's father was nicknamed Diddley. Like Bo Diddley.
It was, for a while, the best-kept secret in Washington. Secret meetings were held on the subject, and a clandestine rendezvous was arranged just weeks ago between Bo and the Obama girls.
They hit it off, sources told the Post.
Bo is expected to arrive Tuesday.
Bo will probably be more liked by staff then the last first hound, Barney, the Bush White House dog, who famously took a bite out of a reporter.
Top Bush aide Gordon Johndroe jokingly spoke of Barney's image crisis.
"I think America has been shielded from Barney somewhat," he quipped.
But Bo has some more likable predecessors to follow. FDR's dog Falla received more fan mail than many presidents. LBJ's beagles were good listeners, and the president famously was photographed holding one of the dogs by the ears. The Clinton's dog Buddy stood by the president during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Millie, in the first Bush White House, even was credited with writing a book.
"And I think we've got a great first dog," the elder President Bush once said, "and that dog knows more about foreign policy than Gov. Clinton and [then-Sen. Al] Gore."
Promise Kept, Promise Broken?
How will this dog fare? For now, President Obama can say that he kept at least one campaign promise, one that he announced in his election night victory speech.
"Sasha and Malia," the president said, "I love you both more than you can imagine. And you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House."
But could Bo pose something of a political problem, too? The Obamas said they were seeking a rescue dog from a shelter, but Bo did not come from a shelter, the Post reports, but rather it was procured by Kennedy from a family that was unable to care for it.
Instead, the Post reported, the Obamas will make a donation to the D.C. Humane Society. .