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Obama haunted by Nancy Reagan quip; mulls dog, school for daughters

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In getting ready to be president, Barack Obama said Friday he is consulting with the living former presidents and President Bush, re-reading some of Abraham Lincoln's writings and wrestling with what he kiddingly called a "major issue"-- what kind of dog to buy for his daughters.

A joke he made about Nancy Reagan was followed by a call to the former first lady with an apology, a rare miscue for Obama. Later he mocked himself as a "mutt" while talking about the dog.

Obama discussed his preparations during his press conference, answering my questions about what former living presidents he spoke to, books he was reading, the puppy and whether his daughters would attend private or public schools in Washington. Wife Michelle is scouting schools, he said.

The president-elect asked me why I had my arm in a sling, and I told him, "I cracked my shoulder running to your speech on election night."

Regarding former presidents, Obama said he has talked to Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush as well as President Bush. And, "I have re-read some of Lincoln's writings, who's always an extraordinary inspiration."

Perhaps because I used the word "living" in my question about advice from past presidents, Obama joked, "I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances."

(Nancy Reagan never held a seance in the White House, though she did get advice from an astrologer.)

A short time later, Obama transition spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter sent out a statement saying Obama called Reagan "to apologize for the careless and off-handed remark he made during today's press conference. The president-elect expressed his admiration and affection for Mrs. Reagan that so many Americans share, and they had a warm conversation."

The Obama daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, were told they would get a puppy at the end of the campaign.

"With respect to the dog, this is a major issue. I think it's generated more interest on our Web site than just about anything," Obama said.

"We have -- we have two criteria that have to be reconciled. One is that Malia is allergic, so it has to be hypo-allergenic. There are a number of breeds that are hypo-allergenic. On the other hand, our preference would be to get a shelter dog.

"But obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are mutts, like me. So the -- so, whether we're going to be able to balance those two things, I think, is a pressing issue on the Obama household."

8 Comments

YOU ARE RIDICULOUS, WHAT A HORRIBLE WAY TO MAKE A LIVING BY SCREWING UP EVERYTHING OTHERS SAY!!
SMALL MINDS DWELL ON THE LITTLE THINGS!!

The Nancy Regean remark made by Obama was disappointing,disrespectful and should have know as untrue. He is now a role model for our youth and having made the remark in public, the only respecful and right thing to do is to personally make his apology in public, noting his remark was not only uncalled for, but untrue.

Secondly, yesterday was the first time I heard the news media refer to Obama as bi-racial, why did it so long and only after the election? The news media doesn't give the American people enough credit to judge people for who they are and for their accomplishments.

I get "careless and off-handed" but I don't see "haunted" by the headline. This article appeared before and without "haunted" in the headline. Who's writing this stuff?

that reagan thing is funny. but at least he didn't bring up hillary and ann lewis trying to 'channel' eleanor roosevelt, yes? i guess caution should be applied in naming the dog.

Though President-Elect Barack Obama is supposedly not to make mis-cues, I wonder how many times he actually was called a mutt or more uglier names in his brief life before his ascension to the highest office in the land?

After a grueling nearly two year battle for the presidency a humorous thought is bound to pour forth consciously or sub-consciously.

I didn't think any thing of the statement about ole' Ronnie, but than again I don't have to be politically correct all the time when others have heaped dump trucks of manure upon me either.

No more running to press conferences / speeches Ms. Lynn, the older we get the longer it takes to heal when brusing or breaking bones. I recently took a header down a flight of stairs but was lucky NOT to break any thing, but the darn bruises now remind me to simply walk slower.

Get well soon!

Nancy Reagan had a well documented and unhealthy belief in pseudo-science of astrology and she applied it to her influence on our nations executive branch. Perhaps the public acceptance of this cued the anti-science movement that has squandered the last 8 years for any progress on climate change. I'm glad Obama has a sense of humor and he can make an off the cuff comment. If this disappoints you stick around. He apologized.

IF THE MAN WENT SWIMMING AND GOT HIS FEET WET,
THE HEADLINES WOULD SAY HE COULDN'T WALK ON WATER
HE ISN'T PERFECT, SO TRY TO STOP MAKING HIM OUT
TO BE!
BUT HE DID BAG THE ELEPHANT!

Let's move on guys. We are riding the greatest wave in American history right now. Let us use our own talents and gifts bestowed upon us in the same manner as Barack and make the 21st century the best century handed down to the next generation by people like us, dedicated to contributing our best and being our best always. Let's get educated and rise above the small talk. The Age of Aquarius is upon us. Peace.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on November 8, 2008 1:43 PM.

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