Obamas close to bringing home First Dog, say sources
Back in early February, President Barack Obama told CNN's Anderson Cooper that the First Dog would arrive "in the spring. I think the theory was that the girls might be less inclined to do the walking when it was cold outside."
A few weeks later, People Magazine reported that First Lady Michelle Obama had announced that the family was "leaning" toward bringing home a Portuguese water dog after they returned from their April trip. "Got to do it after spring break," Mrs. Obama said. "You can't get a new dog and then go away for a week."
Not so fast, Mrs. Obama's press secretary, Katie McCormick Lelyveld, said in an announcement that came the same day as People's revelation. "They have not selected a breed.... Mrs. Obama likes the Portuguese water dog, but she is only one of four votes," was the official word from Lelyveld.
Despite the differing reports on the Obamas' breed (or mix of breeds: reportedly, the other front-runner for First Dog is a Labradoodle, a Labrador retriever-poodle cross) of choice, one bit of information has remained fairly consistent: the timetable for its arrival. Speaking to "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno during his March visit to Southern California visit, the president said, "When we get back [from the European trip], the dog will be in place."
For First Dog-watchers across the country, all this points to one thing: the president, who is scheduled to return from his trip abroad tonight, should have a dog. And soon.
Word on the street -- that is, Pennsylvania Avenue -- is that the First Dog has already been chosen. "We know that it's already been picked out," CBS White House Correspondent Bill Plante told CBS News' Dr. Debbye Turner Bell. "Don't ask me how I know that -- I can't tell you."
Chicago's WBBM Newsradio gives further details about Plante's assertion that the dog has already been chosen:
A source familiar with high-ranking Washington pet owners tells Newsradio 780 that the Obamas are getting a Portuguese water dog, and that the dog is expected this week.
The source says it is a male puppy.
The source is unnamed (not certain about the dog), and the unnamed source says the Obamas have already met the dog when it visited the White House a couple of Sundays ago.
It is believed the Portuguese water dog may be a gift, perhaps from Sen. Ted Kennedy and his family -- but the source would not talk about that.
We contacted a spokesman for Sen. Kennedy about the dog being a gift from the Kennedys and he said, "This would be news to us."
It would also be news to Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn, who told CBS' Bell that she's made calls to get more information about the First Dog, but came up with nothing. "It's like the best kept secret in Washington," Quinn said.
Politico reports that a dog -- possibly the dog -- has been seen at the White House (or so says an unnamed senior staffer).
Photo: Portuguese water dog Kix prepares for competition at the Crufts Dog Show. Credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.