Obama: Bo, the Portuguese Water Dog
The Obama family had no dogs when Barack was a mere senator with big plans, but his daughters extracted a significant campaign pledge during the race: “Their main concern about this whole race was whether or not they could get a dog. That was the bargaining chip. You wanna run for president, we’re getting a dog,” Michelle Obama said. Weeks after the inauguration, a Labradoodle was reportedly under consideration, but in February the winner was announced: a Portuguese water dog, a webbed-foot breed originally used by fishermen to herd fish. While they are “prone to an upset digestive system” — a problem for the White House gardeners — they are hypoallergenic, which will surely win the praises of the housekeeping staff. Finally, on April 14, the White House welcomed six-month-old Bo. The dog was a gift from Senator Ted Kennedy.
Romney: Lassie, Stay on the Roof
The oddest little details can come back to haunt a campaign. One that has occasionally caused Romney a headache is the time when he piled his wife and five boys into the faux-wood-paneled Chevy Caprice station wagon for the eleven-hour drive up to his parents’ Lake Huron summer house. With no room in the car, he put the family’s Irish Setter in a dog carrier, which he then attached to the wagon’s roof rack. The Boston Globe uncovered the details: As the oldest son, Tagg Romney commandeered the way-back of the wagon, keeping his eyes fixed out the rear window, where he glimpsed the first sign of trouble. ”Dad!” he yelled. ”Gross!” A brown liquid was dripping down the back window, payback from an Irish setter who’d been riding on the roof in the wind for hours. As the rest of the boys joined in the howls of disgust, Romney coolly pulled off the highway and into a service station. There, he borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway. Despite Romney’s claim that the dog enjoyed the ride and his insistence that he had built a windscreen to shield Seamus, the incident quickly became fodder for Romney’s critics, who said it epitomized his efficient, unfeeling leadership style.