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Like millions of holiday shoppers, President Obama does his bit for the economy (+video)

Obama's Thanksgiving weekend: Pardon a turkey, keep an eye on HealthCare.gov, sit down for a Barbara Walters interview, buy a bunch of books to highlight 'Small Business Saturday.'

By Staff writer / November 30, 2013


Like millions of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers, President Obama did his bit for the economy Saturday.

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Staff writer and editor

Brad Knickerbocker is a staff writer and editor based in Ashland, Oregon.

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No, Mr. Obama didn’t join one of those frenzied mobs fighting their way into a big box store. That would have required more than the usual phalanx of Secret Service agents and perhaps a squad of Marines.

Instead, the president chose to highlight “Small Business Saturday,” taking daughters Malia and Sasha to the Politics and Prose bookstore and coffee house, a local independent business not far from the White House.

Paying by credit card, he left with sacks of books that that included “Harold and the Purple Crayon," "The Kite Runner," and "Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football." (See the full list below.)

“When our small businesses do well, our communities do well,” Obama tweeted. “Join me and visit a small business near you today to celebrate #SmallBizSat.”

Like everybody, presidents try to relax some on Thanksgiving weekend, although there’s still work to do.

There is that turkey to pardon, guests to entertain at dinner (where, reportedly, nine different kinds of pie were served at the White House this year), China and Iran to keep an eye on, HealthCare.gov computers to fix over at the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Obamas sat down with ABC’s Barbara Walters for an interview at the White House broadcast Friday night.

He addressed the problems with the Affordable Care Act website, and what this has meant for his own plummeting poll numbers,

"I've gone up and down pretty much consistently throughout," Obama told Ms. Walters. "But the good thing about when you're down is that usually you got nowhere to go but up."

As for Obamacare, he said, “I continue to believe and [I'm] absolutely convinced that at the end of the day, people are going to look back at the work we've done to make sure that in this country, you don't go bankrupt when you get sick, that families have that security.”

"That is going be a legacy I am extraordinarily proud of,” Obama said.

Looking ahead to the time when he’s an ex-president, Obama said the family decision on where to live – they all count Chicago as their home town – may depend largely on daughter Sasha, who’ll be a high school sophomore. (Malia will be in college by then.)

"You know we gotta make sure that she's doing well ... until she goes off to college,” Obama told Walters. “Sasha will have a big say in where we are.”

Meanwhile, there was more presidential work to do between Thanksgiving Day feasting on Thursday and “Small Business Saturday” shopping.

For Obama, that was a 40-minute visit with activists fasting in a tent on the National Mall, protesting congressional inaction on immigration, some of whom have had nothing but water for two weeks.

A White House statement said Obama thanked the hunger strikers "for their sacrifice and dedication and told them that the country is behind them on immigration reform."

Then it was off to Politics and Prose.

According to the White House, here’s the list of books Obama purchased for gifts as well as for his own reading:

“Half Brother” by Kenneth Oppel
 “Heart of a Samurai” by Margi Preus
 “Flora and Ulysses” by Kate DiCamillo
 “Jinx” by Sage Blackwood
 “Lulu and the Brontosaurus” by Judith Viorst and Lane Smith
 “Ottoline and the Yellow Cat” by Chris Riddell
 “Moonday” by Adam Rex
 “Journey” by Aaron Becker
 “The Lowland” by Jhumpa Lahiri
 “Red Sparrow” by Jason Matthews
 “Harold and the Purple Crayon” by Crockett Johnson
 “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena” by Anthony Marra
 “The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance” by David Epstein
 “Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football” by Nicholas Dawidoff
 “Ballad of the Sad Cafe: And Other Stories” by Carson McCullers
 “My Antonia” by Willa Cather
 “Ragtime” By E.L. Doctorow
 “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini
 “Buddha in the Attic” by Julie Otsuka
 “All That Is” by James Salter
 “Wild: From Lost to Found On the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed

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