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'Star quality' pooch arrives at White House

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 | 6:15 p.m. CDT; updated 6:56 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Malia Obama runs with new dog, Bo, on the South Lawn of the White House on Tuesday. Bo is a 6-month-old Portuguese water dog.

WASHINGTON — "First pooch" Bo got star treatment and his first backyard romp at the White House on Tuesday — and even presidential clearance to visit the Oval Office. But he better not get any inflated ideas about doggy sleeping arrangements.

"Not in my bed," declared Barack Obama.

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The nation got its first look at Bo in action as the Obamas showed off the family's new dog on the South Lawn. First lady Michelle Obama did most of the walking while the 6-month-old Portuguese water dog scampered about. Then daughter Malia took a turn, and Bo took off running.

The girls grinned as they played with Bo. Sasha clapped her hands at one point, calling for the dog's attention.

Plainly pleased, the president said, "He's a star. He's got star quality."

Obama had promised his daughters, 10-year-old Malia and 7-year-old Sasha, a puppy during the presidential campaign. The dog finally arrived Tuesday.

The commander in chief laid down some guidelines.

Each family member is going to have help out, Obama said. "We all have to take turns walking the dog."

Asked by a reporter where the dog would sleep, the president said Bo would have his own spot.

The president said he had heard the breed likes tomatoes, so he had a word of warning for the first lady. "Michelle's garden is in danger," he said.

The White House will be the puppy's fourth home. He was born in Texas, then moved to his first owner's home in Washington, D.C., then spent nearly a month with Sen. Edward Kennedy's dog trainer in Virginia and now has moved to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Bo is a gift to the Obamas' daughters from the Kennedys.

"I finally got a friend," Obama joked after a reporter reminded him of President Harry S. Truman line, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog."

 


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