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HindustanTimes Tue,29 Jul 2014

World

Obama, a bear on the loose in DC
Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times
Washington, June 24, 2014
First Published: 22:49 IST(24/6/2014)
Last Updated: 22:51 IST(24/6/2014)

There is a bear on the loose in Washington DC and he calls himself Barack Obama. Actually, it’s the other way around — President Obama has taken to calling himself a bear.

But only when he decides to escape the White House or the routine surrounding his work, as did once again on Monday, walking over to a Mexican food restaurant.

“I just walked over to to Chipotle for lunch,” he said at an event on his return. “I caused a lot of havoc, as you might expect. It had been a while since I had the burrito bowl, and it was good.”

That was actually an escape from the “presidential bubble”, as his press secretary Josh Earnest explained later, addressing the issue at the daily White House briefing. He said that one of the things “this President misses the most is the ability to walk down the street and talk to people”.

Obama has described it differently. “The bear is loose,” he said upon exiting the White House on his way to the nearby Interior Department recently, adding, “It’s good to be out.” A startled tourist, who introduced herself as Karen in a video released by the White House, couldn’t believe her eyes, “Oh, my gosh, someone’s going to think you’re, like, wax.” That was in May.

Earlier this month, he and his chief of staff Dennis McDonough had walked to a Starbucks near the White House for another of those bear moments. Leaving the White House, he said, “the bear is loose.”

Not clear what the Secret Service thinks of these outings, but its agents are never too far from him.


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