Breaking News: Obamas select First Dog. Markets down

Jake Turcotte
In what could be the least controversial move of his new presidency, Barack Obama has chosen a First Dog. Well, the breed of dog anyway. First Lady Michelle tells People magazine that the First Family will choose a Portuguese Water Dog.

It could be the biggest news of his early presidency.

No, not that speech he gave last night. And not the guy he picked to be his Commerce Secretary (again). And not that Joe Biden forgot the name of the website he's supposed to run.

And the winner is...

The Obamas have selected the First Dog. Well, the breed anyway.

First Lady Michelle tells People magazine they've decided on a Portuguese Water Dog. This breed is known not only for having webbed feet and being a favorite of Jacques Cousteau, but they usually pay their taxes on time and rarely back out at the last minute.

Safe pick

Political pundits -- both Republican and Democrat -- all seem to agree. This selection is no surprise. It talks to the base while not upsetting the moderates. Even the far right could support the choice.

Although Senate approval is not necessary, there's speculation that even South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint would green light the pick.

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, however, would likely not accept the dog if offered. Governor Schwarzenegger, on the other hand, would probably want whatever part of the dog that they turned down.

Nice dog

Regardless, the first lady tells People magazine that they like that breed because of their size and they're supposed to be good natured.

“Temperamentally they’re supposed to be pretty good,” Mrs. Obama said. “From the size perspective, they’re sort of middle of the road -- it’s not small, but it’s not a huge dog. And the folks that we know who own them have raved about them. So that’s where we’re leaning.”

Sarah Palin

What are they going to call the upcoming First Dog?

"Oh, the names are really bad. I don't even want to mention it, because there are names floating around and they're bad," Mrs. Obama says with a laugh. "You listen and you go -- like, I think, Frank was one of them. Frank! Moose was another one of them. Moose. I said, well, what if the dog isn't a moose? Moose. I'm like, no, come on, let's work with the names a little bit."

Moose could be seen as an olive branch to Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, however. And it is a post-partisan age.

Read my lips

What about the promise to get a rescue or shelter dog?

"We appreciate the great enthusiasm around the dog and we will be sure to let folks know everything about the dog once the family has had the opportunity to look for and select their new pet later this spring," said an Obama White House official on background.

You can see why they were on background here. That's a controversial statement. It's almost Plame-like!

Last we checked

Despite the fact that the spokesperson didn't answer the question (at all), that seemed to be the route they were going at least a month ago. The president told George Stephanopoulos that they were going to start looking around shelters to find the new First Dog.

The president is currently featured on the cover of American Dog magazine with a three-legged dog named Baby.

Baby's owner, Dr. Jana Kohl, says the decision to adopt a dog is a "win-win for the dogs and for the nation's economy."

"By adopting a shelter dog, the Obamas are setting a compassionate example for the nation and also saving taxpayers billions," she says.  "It costs $2 billion a year to round up, shelter and euthanize 5 million homeless pets. Adoption is the only way to fix the pet overpopulation problem and the Obamas are taking the lead."

And in light of a bumpy first month, they probably don't want to follow the vice president's lead and get a dog from a puppy mill.

Of course, this will lead many people to respond with, "What, is it -- a slow news day?" or "Don't you have anything else to write about?"

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