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“Mutts Like Me”: President-Elect Barack Obama’s First Press Conference

Perhaps the first thing we learned from today’s press conference is that the familiar Obama campaign typestyle (with its italicized minor words) has made the leap to the presidential transition. If it continues past the inauguration, how long until we’re all sick of it?

Given the cautious self-discipline and composure Obama showed throughout nearly two years on the campaign trail, it’s no surprise that he navigated the rocky waters of giving a presidential press conference without being president yet rather easily. Only a question about Iran seemed to catch him momentarily off-guard, as he weighed what to say without appearing presumptuous.

CNN is up with the transcript what was actually said. Some excerpts:

This morning, we woke up to more sobering news about the state of our economy. . . . The news coming out of the auto industry this week reminds us of the hardship it faces, hardship that goes far beyond individual auto companies to the countless suppliers, small businesses and communities throughout our nation who depend on a vibrant American auto industry.

(Um, I think that means get ready for another bailout.) On a lighter note:

Q: I’m wondering what you’re doing to get ready. Have you spoke to any living ex-presidents, what books you might be reading?

[And] everyone wants to know, what kind of dog are you going to buy for your girls?. . .

Obama: . . . In terms of speaking to former presidents, I’ve spoken to all of them that are living. Obviously, President Clinton — (pause) I didn’t want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances.

I have re-read some of Lincoln’s writings, who’s always an extraordinary inspiration. And, by the way, President Carter, President Bush, Sr., as well as the current president have all been very gracious and offered to provide any help that they can in this transition process.

With respect to the dog, this is a major issue. I think it’s generated more interest on our Web site than just about anything.

We have — we have two criteria that have to be reconciled. One is that Malia is allergic, so it has to be hypoallergenic. There are a number of breeds that are hypoallergenic.

On the other hand, our preference would be to get a shelter dog, but, obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me. So — so whether we’re going to be able to balance those two things I think is a pressing issue on the Obama household.

Your thoughts?

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Swopa has been sharing prescient, if somewhat anal-retentive, analysis and garden-variety mockery with Internet readers since 1995 or so, when he began debunking the fantasies of Clinton-scandal aficionados on Usenet. He is currently esconced as the primary poster at Needlenose (