November 1, 2008

Does Obama have a pet? Does McCain have a pet?

Reading about Rush Limbaugh and his besotted fondness for his kitty cat, I realized we don't hear anything about the presidential candidates' pets. Usually, you hear about the pets... Socks this, Barney that. King Timahoe.

But I don't remember seeing any pet stories this time around. Do these men not have pets? Is this a new trend? Men without pets?

It turns out that Barack Obama, in fact, has no pets. McCain?
He’s got the usual dogs—four of them actually: two Yorkshire terriers, Lucy and Desi; an English springer spaniel, Sam; and a mutt, Coco—and a black-and-white cat named Oreo. But he also reportedly owns two turtles (Cuff and Link), three parakeets, and thirteen saltwater fish. And in the past he’s had guinea pigs, snakes, and “an iguana that Jack walked on a leash,” according to Vogue, plus a ferret. The ferret recently died of cancer, and though McCain called it “a very cute animal,” he also told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren in a joint interview with his wife that, “Rather than alienate the pro-pet constituency, I will remain silent about the loss of our ferret,” implying that perhaps Cindy was the impetus behind that acquisition. Indeed, Cindy seems to be more of an animal person than John. “She loves animals, just not always ones that I appreciate,” he told Vogue. It was Cindy who went out and bought the two terriers as she coped with their daughter Meghan's graduating college and leaving home. But McCain has proven his devotion to his pets: About five years ago, as the New York Times’ Caucus blog reported, Coco the mutt began choking (on either a treat or a piece of meat—memories differ), and McCain attempted a sort of doggie Heimlich. When that failed, McCain stuck two of his fingers down the dog’s throat and cleared the blockage, saving the dog.
***

Requisite ferret link. ("This excessive concern with little weasels is a sickness.")

ADDED: What President had dogs named Sweet Lips, Scentwell, Vulcan, Drunkard, Taster, Tipler, and Tipsy? What President had, for pets, 2 tiger cubs? What President gave his dog the absurdly uncreative name Fido?

AND: Apparently, Obama promised he'd get his daughters a dog after the campaign is over, and the American Kennel Club ran a poll that determined that the breed he should get is.... poodle.

ALSO: I think poodle -- a large ("standard") poodle -- is a great dog choice, and it's probably what I would get. But I cannot picture an American male politician with a poodle. It doesn't have the right connotations... and not just because we associate it with a foreign country. (Bush has Scotties.) Mainstream Americans think bad thoughts about poodles, and the President has better things to do than to retrain our poodle-thoughts. Also, with poodles, you have to pick black or white. Obama can't do that! He could get 2, black and white, but that would seem as though he were trying too hard for symbolism. Yes, I know there are red poodles. Still... Maybe an American male politician could get a nice red labradoodle.

But wait. It's a dog for his daughters. I think those little girls should -- after all this -- get whatever dog or dogs they want. If they want to walk around holding little chihuahuas, they should do it. Or do they have their own image consultants, building their political careers, determining the precise dog that will say what's best to say?

83 comments:

Hoosier Daddy said...

and a black-and-white cat named Oreo.

If Mort were here he'd say that proves McCain is a racist.

Crimso said...

"What President gave his dog the absurdly uncreative name Fido?"

While it is the stereotypical dog name, have you ever heard of anyone (other than the President in question) actually naming their dog Fido? For that reason, I have from time to time, considered naming a dog Fido.

Windbag said...

Obama has Chris Matthews, who is constantly humping his leg.

Meade said...

Messiahs don't need pets. Messiahs are already adored universally.

Freeman Hunt said...

The Bible doesn't mention Jesus having a pet either.

I thought it was a running thing around here lately to compare Obama's choices to Biblical quotations...

Big Mike said...

We owned a pair of ferrets and they are unbelievably adorable. They are also mischievous, they tend to forget their litterbox training, and they make your house smell bad. When they got angry at us -- or just if they felt like it -- they would climb into our bookcase and knock all the books onto the floor.

Then they look into your eyes and if your soul doesn't melt you are only half human. If that.

But now that they're gone our house doesn't smell bad anymore and we can have a nice rug on the floor and breakable things on shelves.

God! I miss them.

Ann Althouse said...

Jesus had a goldfish.

Freeman Hunt said...

I once had neighbors with ferrets. If you went to their house and sat on the couch, the ferrets would come up through the back of the couch and bite your backside. Cured me of ever wanting to own that sort of animal.

Ann Althouse said...

Melted soul. What does that smell like?

Freeman Hunt said...

What does that smell like?

Apparently, ferret musk.

Susan said...

I have no idea who had the two tiger cubs but it just sounds like something Teddy Roosevelt would have had.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EDH said...

I thought Obama had a pet Unicorn?

Anyway, my gut told me this would be a Michelle decision, based upon what The One has said himself about the relationship.

Evidently, I was correct. Notice the promisory nature of the adoption.

If Obama doesn't win, do you think they'll get the dog? Would that just make it another centrist prop?

Obamas to adopt a rescue dog, Michelle Obama announces
11:30 AM, October 10, 2008

The Obamas are officially adopting a dog, America's dog lovers can rest assured.

Michelle Obama told Entertainment Tonight recently that the family would adopt a rescue dog after the election was over. Michelle and her Democratic presidential candidate husband, Barack, made the promise to their two pre-teen daughters (Malia and Sasha). The couple told the girls (and the press) that their campaign lifestyle wouldn't allow the family to properly train and care for a dog until after Nov. 4.

The announcement comes after summerlong campaigns to persuade the family not to get a goldendoodle, which the Obamas considered because the breed is hypoallergenic. The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to the Obamas saying getting a purebred would be elitist and a petition by the Best Friends Animal Society garnered over 50,000 signatures to persuade the Obamas to adopt a dog instead of having one bred or buying one.

PETA has already responded to the potential first lady's announcement on their blog:

So you can see why we're quite proud of this whole thing and thank everyone who weighed in. We hope that the Obama family really listened to our message, and we hope that Barack, Michelle, and their daughters find a loving mutt who needs a good home.

Now, with the campaign in its final few weeks, might this help the Democratic nominee with the animal set, especially since his Republican rival John McCain beat Obama in a polls of pet owners? In related news, there was the recent endorsement by the Humane Society Legislative Fund of the Obama-Biden ticket.

Either way, though, looks like the White House will have a dog in the next administration.

Trooper York said...

Wait a minute Freeman, your butt smells like ferret musk?? Sexy.

Trooper York said...

Clinton had a potbellied pig named Monica that he taught a few tricks.

Freeman Hunt said...

Which President had the worst pets?

I'd say John Quincy Adams. He must have owned them out of intellectual curiosity, but I'd hardly call those animals "pets."

Fred4Pres said...

A man without pets cannot be trusted.

Freeman Hunt said...

Wait a minute Freeman, your butt smells like ferret musk?? Sexy.

My butt is equivalent to "melted soul?" Hmmm. I don't know what to make of that.

Fred4Pres said...

Trooper York: Now that was mean! Monica may have been a pet of sorts, but Bill is more of the pig.

john said...

Ann Althouse said...
Jesus had a goldfish.

I think he also had loaves. Lots (or enough).

rhhardin said...

Doberman Exercise Video

jdeeripper said...

McCain? He’s got the usual dogs—four of them actually

And God knows how many dog houses for them.

Here's a better "Rudy and the Ferrets" link

Trooper York said...

Lincoln's doctor had a dog.

Ann Althouse said...

jdeeripper, that's the link I was looking for (and didn't find because it wasn't in YouTube). I've put it on the front page in place of the link I had.

reader_iam said...

So you can see why we're quite proud of this whole thing and thank everyone who weighed in.

The gazillionth reason why I could never cut it in politics: Faced with that interfering lobbying, I'd probably go buy half-a-dozen goldendoodles, just to irritate and because I WILL IF I WANT TO, DAMN IT.

reader_iam said...

And I name them after past celebrity spokespeople for PETA, or maybe some of its board members.

EDH said...

A fun question:

What do you think the Obamas will name their dog:

(a) if Obama wins, and

(b) if he doesn't win?

Luke Blanshard said...

OK, this is off topic, but what's with this "graduated college" phrase these days? I imagine a giant beaker, and Meghan diligently etching year markers into its side.

reader_iam said...

Hope!

reader_iam said...

Though I think "Loose Change" would be cuter, myself.

reader_iam said...

Those were suggests for "A," not one for each "A" and "B."

reader_iam said...

Would it be too tacky to suggest "Ayers" or "Wright" if they lose?

reader_iam said...

Or "Marx," in either case?

(What's the emoticon for tongue in cheek, anyway?)

Cedarford said...

Maybe the Obamas can adopt one or two of Michael Vick's pit bulls.

Apparantly, animal rights groups would approve of the "rescue" as non-elitist.

Of higher concern than pleasing constituencies, might be (1)Getting a dog that the kids like, (2)Is suited for a busy, urban lifestyle in DC - even in the White House compound - of tons of strangers around and not a lot of exercise, (3) addresses any medical issues the Obamas may have with allergies.

Points though if Michelle helps select a white Samoyed or Husky and names the beastie "whitey".

Ferrets - adorable "personality-plus" animals. We rescued one once and had it for 3 years before it died of cancer. Was best friends with the dog we had then. Loved chases, toys, got into everything in a not too destructive way. Wouldn't get another one though - because they aren't yet bred for longevity, aren't 100% housebreakable (we'd settle for 90%).
*****************
Trooper York said...
Clinton had a potbellied pig named Monica that he taught a few tricks.


Good thing it wasn't Clinton who was the potbellied pig. I was tld Monica liked to eat kosher.

Freeman Hunt said...

Or "Marx," in either case?

No can do. He's saving that one in case he and Michelle ever have a son.

EDH said...

I was thinking:

(a) "Utopia" if he wins

(b) "McCracker" if he doesn't win.

Palladian said...

Of course Obama doesn't have a dog! Muslims aren't allowed to have dogs as pets.





I'm kidding!!!

Lem said...

Pu Palin avoir animaux de compagnie?

Palin pet?

Lem said...

Joe the plumber remplace Palin comme animal de compagnie.

No?

Christy said...

Why do I strongly suspect that, as in many households, the pets really belong to individuals in that household, in this case Cindy, and not everyone in the household? Yorkies are not really a guy's dog, are they? (And the concept of ownership applies to not just pets in households but houses in family holdings.)

RDH, Electronic perimeter, very well trained dog, or both?

I babysat an old cat a week ago, name of Starboard, while her human did the Great Chesapeake Schooner Race. She was so mad at being left, she peed all over my kitchen. She woke me up two hours early every morning howling for food. She fought with me over my food - cleaned up the Foreman Grill while I was off eating my burger. And made me really miss having a cat.

Jen Bradford said...

I let a girl stay at my apartment with her two ferrets for a few days, and my God those guys were stinky.

Apologies for cross-posting from the Halloween thread, but if you missed the dog costumes, here they are again. I love the hippie.

Simon said...

All else being equal, I'd prefer to have a cat-owned President; there was something quite reassuring about seeing our feline overlords taking the reins of power directly.

Lem said...

An animated animal..

I have to go and see my mother because she came all this way to see me, but wont come to see me ;)

Ven bien buenmozo - she said.

Simon said...

[We have three cats: a moggy, and a brother/sister pair that I wanted to call Clarence and Nina. My wife vetoed that proposition. At any rate, Caleb, the moggy, usually won't share a lap; if another jumps on, he'll jump off. Earlier today, when I was writing a comment on a previous post, one of the other two was already asleep on my lap, and I guess Caleb felt the need to reassert his authority, so he came and perched on my chest, with the upshot that a comment that ought to have taken a couple of minutes took about half an hour to finish. Demanding creatures, but rewarding - there are few better things in this world than a cat purring in your ear.]

madawaskan said...

Cool!

Answer for the Drunkard and Tipsy named doggies is George Washington....

and hell I didn't know that Reagan had a Bouvier des Flandres till now.

I had two of those guys....

I kinda got into Bouvs because supposedly they bit Hitler and they were used by the Allies-and he tried to have them exterminated.

I was at the zoo in Portland and I swear I either read or overheard that Lincoln had a river otter as a pet-can't find that anywhere on the internets though-maybe I made it up.

Triangle Man said...

Based on campaign fundraising, I predict a spate of gooldendoodle puppies being given up for adoption at DC area shelters by "anonymous donors" (*cough* Sorros *cough*) if Obama wins.

Windbag said...

FWIW, the Bible never mentions the domestic cat anywhere.

Palladian said...

Cats are repulsive, filthy, stupid animals.

rhhardin said...

Electronic perimeter, very well trained dog, or both?

Trained dog.

If the dog keeps himself in the yard through his own strength of character, open gates aren't a worry. There are no fences, and so no gates in them to leave open and escape through.

Nobody in the official caring world that runs everything will believe that you can train a dog; they'll deny you a dog if you don't have a fence.

I recommend Koehler. If you read it you'll see why it's no problem training a dog never to leave even under the highest temptation.

Simon said...

Windbag said...
"FWIW, the Bible never mentions the domestic cat anywhere."

"[T]he Israelites distrusted everything associated with the Egyptians, who ruled over them. The fact that the Egyptians held cats in such high esteem encouraged the occupied population to despise them almost as much as they hated the occupiers, so this may be the reason why they are not mentioned in the Bible."

David said...

Obama has a gay Muslim Pit Bull, but he says it's just a dog in the neighborhood.

MadisonMan said...

I don't know about pets, but there's a very charming picture today in the Chicago Tribune of Obama taking his daughter trick or treating. I was happy for her that he was there to do that.

Kirby Olson said...

Generally, people with pets come off as nice people. Then there's Goldfinger.

road warrior said...

that's going to be the next thing the liberal illuminati bring up, how McCain mis treats his dogs or something. But the story if Obama gets in the white house seems to be what will he name his dog. He should put something up on his slick website so the American public can vote on a name. that sounds about right.

campy said...

Obama will think of us all as his pets.

Palladian said...

"He should put something up on his slick website so the American public can vote on a name. that sounds about right."

He could name his poodle "Mohammed Christ" and piss off everyone.

reader_iam said...

He could name his poodle "Mohammed Christ" and piss off everyone.

I absolutely LOVE this comment, and especially because it incorporates the word "piss." It gets my vote for best yet.

reader_iam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freeman Hunt said...

He could name his poodle "Mohammed Christ" and piss off everyone.

Now, who goes and names a dog after himself?

Cedarford said...

Oooo, that was a great crack, Freeman!

bleeper said...

King Timahoe was a wonderful dog. I worked a cattle farm with his grandson - a remarkable, intelligent and personable dog. I am not a big fan of what has been done to Irish Setters, but when they are not inbred, they are among the best dogs on the planet. It helps to have a lot of land for them to run - few dogs are as graceful at full tilt.

Methadras said...

Fido mean fidelity or faithful. I would gladly name my dog Fido, but I already know he is faithful.

Ron said...

It's a shame Nixon did not have a dog named "unindicted coconspiritor."

bleeper said...

Freeman Hunt said...
Or "Marx," in either case?

No can do. He's saving that one in case he and Michelle ever have a son.

Harpo or Chico?

reader_iam said...

In my family-of-origin-and-raising, all pets were named after composers. In my family-of-creation (I got married), all pets are named after applied scientists/mathematicians.

In between those two states, I had a cat, picked out at a bit under 1-1/2 hours old and cherished until he died at 21. He I named in honor of the particular effect achieved by the pouring of a specific viscous liquid over a specific breakfast-food item, as experienced in strong, streaming, early-morning sunlight one day in summer in Wildwood, NJ, where I was waitressing more than 25 years ago, now.

reader_iam said...

That should be: "Him I named ..., of course. The objective case. Damn it.

Freeman Hunt said...

Okay, Reader, what's the name? I ask because I find myself sitting here guessing... to myself, and I can't check the answer.

And you've made me want to get out the skillet, but it's past nine!

Viking Dawg said...

Kirby,

I don't think Goldfinger had a pet, I believe you are thinking of Ernst Blofeld Of SPECTRE) and his white cat.

Names
Win: Chimpy
Lose: The Man

Peg C. said...

Obama as pack leader. Can't see it.
And if he thinks we're all going to be calm and submissive, think again! (All hail Cesar. ;-) )

Marcia said...

If he wins, he should name the dog Joe.

If he loses, he should name the dog Joe.

Cincinnatus said...

Let me guess. Teddy Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt, and Teddy Roosevelt.

Seneca the Younger said...

To be fair, I believe Lincoln started the fad of calling dogs Fido. Complaining that it's not original is a little like the complaint that Hamlet's no big deal because half of it is from Barlett's Quotations.

Hucbald said...

Last pet I had was an African Royal Python - commonly called a Ball Python - and she was very cool... unless she'd been curled up in my lap for a while while i was surfing the net, then she was warm.

Happiness to her was a warm mouse.

I love snakes.

Kevin said...

Narcissists shouldn't have pets. Not enough love to go around.

Tom of the Missouri said...

Obama already has a dog. Its name is Media. It is a lapdog. Here is a link to see it sitting on Obama's lap.

http://www.investors.com/editorial/cartoon.asp#parenttop

It is the Oct. 31 cartoon.

Susan said...

He needs a border collie - black AND white all in one dog. Also eager to please, a quick learner and loves to mesmerize and round up sheep.

Shanna said...

I like to get pets from the humane society or pound (I think they are healthier and happier), but I think having PETA tell me to would make me want to get the breediest dog their ever was. However, if they want to split the difference, they should go to a group that rescues the specific breed they want. Then everybody's happy!

Punditarian said...

Fido was Abraham Lincoln's dog, and he was very important in the education of Lincoln's children. The President once asked them, "If I called his tail a leg, how many legs would the dog have?"

"Five!" they replied.

No, Lincoln explained, "Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it so."

An important lesson for all of us, actually. There are quite a few contemporary political controversies that are based on the contrary principle, that calling a tail a leg would make it so.

Although you mentioned President George Bush's scotties, apparently disparaging him for having "foreign" dogs, you didn't mention FDR's scotty, Fala, or the numerous Weimaraners, German Shepherds, and other "foreign" dogs on the list, including a Bouvier, Schnauzers, Scottish terriers, English sheepdogs, and so on.

BlogDog said...

If I had a dog called "Fido," I'd spell it "Phydeaux." Got to have *something* out of the ordinary.

Nichevo said...

Did somebody already say, attack dogs rescued from drug dealers and dogfighters?

veni vidi vici said...

"Fido mean fidelity or faithful. I would gladly name my dog Fido, but I already know he is faithful."

Funny, I always thought "Fido" was a writer-created dog name meaning "fine dog".

Kirby Olson said...

Ernst Blofield, of Spectre, then. It's hard to keep all the Bond villains separate.

Maureen said...

In the present tense, the 1st person singular of "fidare" (to trust) is "Fido".