Obama Shops Local Bookstore for Small Business Saturday

(SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Barack Obama and his daughters Sasha and Malia did some holiday shopping near Washington today. Dropping in on One More Page Books in Arlington, Va., Obama spent the afternoon outside the White House to promote Small Business Saturday.

The family spent roughly 20 minutes inside the store, spending some of the time quietly conversing with locals. Obama reportedly brought a shopping list on his BlackBerry smartphone.

"Preparation, you know," the president told shop owner Eileen McGervey. "That's how I shop. Michelle, she can go wandering around."

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The White House says 15 children's books were purchased at the establishment, that will be given as gifts to family. This is the second year the president has visited a bookstore for the occasion.

Wedged between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday was launched in 2010 to focus on independently owned brick and mortar shops. The occasion was conceived by the American Express corporation, but has since been largely endorsed by business groups and politicians. American Express claims 100 million shoppers hit small businesses last year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.

On Twitter the president would later add, "My family & I started our holiday shopping at a local bookstore on #SmallBizSat. I hope you'll join & shop small this holiday season. -bo"

A member of the traveling press asked the president if this was his effort to keep the United States from going over the looming fiscal cliff.

"Come on, we're doing Christmas shopping," he responded. "Happy Thanksgiving, folks."