WASHINGTON--President Obama spent a lot of time in Iowa in the run-up to the crucial 2008 caucus vote, and on Thursday stopped at a favorite Iowa City bookstore while in town to deliver a speech--more like a pep rally for the new health care law he signed on Tuesday.
After he strolled through the store he bought-with cash--"Journey to the River Sea" by Eva Ibbotson and "The Secret of Zoom" by Lynne Jonell for his daughters and a Star Wars pop up book for the son of Press Secretary Robert Gibbs that cost $37.44.
Click below for pool report.
Pool report by
OTR stop at a small bookstore in downtown Iowa City:
President Obama made a surprise visit to Prairie Lights, an independent bookstore in downtown Iowa City, around 2 p.m. local time.
"Well, this used to be my favorite place," Obama told the owner as she showed him around.
He remarked how as president he can't really mosey around bookstores anymore and said the office comes with the good and bad.
Obama walked around the store apparently in pursuit of the children's/young adult section.
Along his way he picked up "No Apology" by Mitt Romney and "Courage and Consequence" by Karl Rove.
"What do you think guys?" he asked the pool, holding up a hardback copy of each in his hands before setting them back down.
On the same row was book "Inside Obama's Brain," which Robert Gibbs remarked on as he walked by.
Obama then headed upstairs but was soon back.
"Alright, I'm supposed to go downstairs," he explained.
A few minutes later POTUS stepped up to the cash register with two books in his hands: "Journey to the River Sea" by Eva Ibbotson and "The Secret of Zoom" by Lynne Jonell for his daughters.
Obama pulled out five $20 bills to pay for the two books. Your pooler couldn't hear the exact price but the two books didn't cost that much.
Obama also bought a book for Gibbs, who was holding a large Star Wars pop-up book for his six-year-old son, Ethan.
"It's a little expensive, sir," Gibbs said to his boss as he handed it over.
POTUS showed the book to pool as the cashier rang it up for $37.44.
"I can handle it," Obama said as Gibbs suggested he pay. "It's for keeping his dad away for too many hours a day."
"I need more books than that, sir," Gibbs remarked.
Obama then shook a few hands of customers in the store.
"Thank you so much guys. You have a wonderful bookstore," he said, adding that hopefully he's helping "to make sure everybody has health insurance."
Someone remarked about the significance of his dropping by the store.
Obama said he hoped so. "It's not every day a president stops by," he said.
On his way out the door, POTUS showed his purchases to pool.
"Journey to the River Sea" by Eva Ibbotson and "The Secret of Zoom" by Lynn Dornell were "based on recommendations," he explained.
"Of course the question is how they take to them but I think they're going to like them," POTUS said.
"Nothing for Mrs. Obama?" Bloomberg's Ed Chen asked.
Obama paused to think for a second. "Thanks for getting me in trouble," he replied.
Out on the sidewalk, POTUS was encountered some excited locals. One man reminded him of a time during the campaign. Obama shook hands outside an Indian restaurant and said hello to some people outside a clothing store. A crowd had gathered on the nearby street corner.
Motorcade rolling to the airport around 2:15 p.m.