Friday, August 12, 2011

What Exactly *Is* Barack Obama's Dog Food?

GOP hopeful Mitt Romney revives the question: Does First Dog Bo have his meals prepared by the White House chefs?
During the GOP presidential candidates' debate on Thursday in Ames, Iowa, frontrunner Mitt Romney called President Obama's economic policy "dog food." It's one of today's big sound bites from the event, and has also led to a flurry of e-mails to Obama Foodorama, asking what the First Family's dog, Bo, actually eats. (Above: The President and Bo in the Rose Garden)

"Look, I'm not going to eat Barack Obama's dog food, all right?" Romney declared when asked about the debt ceiling legislation. "What he served up was not what I would have done if I'd had been president of the United States."

The President didn't watch the debate, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters today, so let's move on to the subject of what Barack Obama's dog food *really* is. I am routinely asked about Bo's eating habits, and have thus queried White House staff on the topic. The answer is simple.

Bo, who is almost three years old, is a Portuguese Water Dog.  He eats "like any other dog in America," a White House aide told me. "Store-bought dog food."

The aide wouldn't say whether Bo eats dry kibble or canned food, however, and declined to name a specific brand.  State Secrets, you know. And no, the aide said, the White House chefs do NOT cook for the First Dog, which has been the subject of frequent, if silly, Bo speculation.  So prevalent is this notion that ABC reporter Jake Tapper joked about it on Twitter from the GOP debate, after Romney made his comment.

"i dont want to nitpick, but with Sam Kass in the White House kitchen, i bet Barack Obama's dogfood is pretty good," Tapper wrote (sic).

Treats...and tomatoes
Bo gets special treats on special occasions: For his first birthday, Bo had a party in the Rose Garden, on Oct. 9, 2009, and the treats included dog cookies in the shape of bones. Bo also loves tomatoes, First Lady Obama has said. And in his younger days, Bo loved to eat both shoes and toys, Mrs. Obama has said. The info about toys and tomatoes is actually noted on Bo's official White House "baseball card," downloadable here. Bo also likes to visit the press cabin on Air Force One in search of treats from the White House press corps. (Above: Bo is in the background as his brother Cappy sneaks a birthday treat from a table)

First Dog foodie homage...
Bo has been memorialized by the White House pastry chefs as a sweet treat. Beginning with the Obama's first White House holiday season, Bo Cookies have been a staple at the many receptions that take place throughout December. Guests are so charmed by the Bo Cookies they've been spotted sneaking them into pockets and purses, rather than eating them. (Above: A pastry chef puts the finishing touches on a tray of Bo Cookies for the Holiday 2010 celebrations)

The 2010 holiday Bo Cookies were twinned with a larger-than-life statue of the fine fellow, made of 40,000 pipe cleaners by holiday decorating volunteers, which stood guard in the Booksellers area in the East Wing during the holiday season. (Above, Bo with his statue).

*Photos by Pete Souza/White House; except for cookie photo; that's by Chuck Kennedy/White House