President Barack Obama and his dog Bo visit with a poodle named Cinnamon as they check out at PetSmart, Wednesday, Dec 21, 2011, in Alexandria, Va. -- PHOTO: AP
WASHINGTON (AFP) - United States President Barack Obama did a spot of Christmas shopping on Wednesday, and in the process made a subtle political jab at Republicans over a tax row which has kept him from his family at holiday time.
Mr Obama, who has put off plans to join his wife and daughters for their annual getaway to Hawaii as political gridlock consumes Washington, went shopping in nearby Virginia, which happens to be a key swing state in the 2012 election.
Perhaps seeking to prove the maxim that the only friend a president has in Washington is a mutt, he took his popular Portuguese water dog Bo along, for a trip recorded by the cameras of the White House press pool.
Mr Obama's motorcade rolled up at a pet superstore in Alexandria, Virginia and the president handed over a US$50 (S$85) bill for a haul that included a bone, even as Bo apparently eyed up the nearby attractions of a small brown poodle.