In The News
(May-September 2003)

He's as Official as They Get: Here's an interesting exchange about Barney, from a recent "Ask the White House" online chat with Clare Pritchett, director of the White House Visitors Office:

"Dear Mrs. Pritchett, I was wondering--what rooms in the White House are off limits -?? What if a visitor accidentally bumped into a White House official in the hallway!? : Thanks for your time. Laura from Iowa."

"Clare Pritchett:
Since this is a working house, it's not too unusual for folks to bump into (not literally) a White House official. Some lucky visitors may even catch a glimpse of the President boarding Marine One from the South Lawn from time to time! First dogs Barney and Spot also like to walk the tour line greeting visitors!"--BB, 9/24/03.

He's OK: An update on Barney's condition following that spill on the Texas tarmac over the weekend: "'Barney doesn't seem to be suffering any long-term consequences.'...'You know, Barney is very independent. He's like a cat.'"-- Noelia Rodriguez, spokeswoman for First Lady Laura Bush, as quoted by The Washington Post, 9/3/03.

Ouch!: There are conflicting reports over just who dropped Barney on the tarmac in Waco, Texas, Saturday.

The AP was vague about the culprit: "Before boarding Air Force One in Waco, Texas, for his rip back to Washington, the president and first lady Laura Bush greeted members of the Midway All-Stars, a Waco-area Little League girls softball team that recently won the world championship. The girls were introduced to the president's dog, Barney, who accidentally fell onto the tarmac when Mrs. Bush was handing him to her husband. The dog apparently was unharmed, but his fall startled the girls and the president, who quickly scooped Barney back into his arms."

But the New York Daily News blamed the commander-in-chief: "President Bush spent the day talking about how sure-handed he was about his plans to bolster the economy - so it was especially embarrassing when he fumbled the First Family dog. Presidential pooch Barney took a nasty flop on the tarmac at a Waco, Tex., airport when First Lady Laura Bush tried to hand him off to her husband Saturday. The Scottish terrier's tumble apparently caused no harm, and the President quickly scooped up his furry friend."--BB, 8/31/03.

Eau D'chlorine: "Barney, the Scottish terrier, elected to drink water from the pool. Spot, the other presidential dog, took a brief dip in the pool. The reporters, though invited to bring their swimsuits, elected not to take a dip.... The sun had set, the cobbler was gone and Barney, tired of the whole thing, began barking ferociously at the guests."-- Washington Post, reporting on what happened when President Bush invited reporters to his Crawford, Texas, ranch, for a get-together, 8/29/03.

That's Mr. Furball To You: "Everything else about him just shouts 'Butch, butch, butch!' But to throw Bush a metrosexual bone, whenever you see him walking off Air Force One with that little furball Barney under his arm, that canine puff of air that most drag queens wouldn't be caught dead with, it's like he's halfway to a Chanel rabbit fur handbag."-- New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, offering political-makeover tips for the president from a gay reporter friend of hers, 8/3/03

Stress Busters: First Lady Laura Bush was asked in her online chat, "How do you manage to handle your stress so well?"

"Our favorite stress reduction technique is playing with our animals -- Barney, Spot and Willie (the cat), who seldom makes public appearances," she replied.--BB, 7/1/03.

'You Gotta Love Him': White House Horticulturist Dale Haney was asked about the First Dogs in his online chat:

"Mary, from New Vernon, New Jersey writes:
Are you the same Dale who takes care of Barney and Spot?

"Barney and Spot hang out with us as we are doing our everyday gardening and mowing. They hang out with us during the day while the President and First Lady are busy. Barney plays with the volleyball and Spot plays with a tennis ball. And Spot loves to swim this time of year in the pool. They are very helpful in the gardening.

"Lori, from Texas writes:
Which is your favorite, Spot or Barney?

"I love them both, but I do have a soft spot for Spot. I was there when she was born and now she's back. Spotty was born to First Dog Millie during President George Bush's administration in 1989. Barney is a great little dog too -- he has his own mind and does his own thing. You gotta love him."--BB, 6/17/03.

Oval Office Visitors: White House Curator Bill Allman fielded this question about the First Pets in a recent online chat:

"Pete, from Hershey, Pennsylvania writes:
Are Barney and Spot allowed in the Oval Office?

"Dear Pete: Barney and Spot are regular visitors to the Oval Office. They love to play in the Rose Garden and on the south lawn. When they are spotted by visitors, they quickly attract all sorts of attention. The theme for the Christmas decorations this past year were the pets and animals associated with the first families, and Spot and Barney had a central place in the decorations."--BB, 6/5/03.

Most Noted Scottish Dog: "After weeks of delicate and sometimes tense negotiations between the first lady's office and the Smithsonian Institution's government relations team, presidential Scottish terrier Barney Bush has agreed to make a special guest appearance tonight at a Smithsonian Associates program celebrating 'The Dogs of Scotland' at the Natural History Museum. We hear that Barney will be awarded a ribbon honoring him as 'the most noted Scottish dog in America.'"-- Washington Post, 6/3/03.

White House Photos: White House Photo Director Eric Draper has probably taken more pictures of Barney than anyone else has. He briefly discusses the First Pup in an online White House chat and shows a couple of historic photos of Barney, including one of President Bush playing tennis in the fog with the Great Scott.--BB, 5/15/03.

Asking the right Questions: Steve Friedman, one of the president's economic advisers, didn't quite know what to make of this set of questions in an online chat:

"Yvonne, from Chelmsford, England writes:
My 15 month old Scottie MacGregor wondered how old Barney was and what his favorite toy was. How did President Bush come to choose a Scottie.

"Steve Friedman
I don't know, but please tell Scottie that I'll ask the President and we'll post later here on whitehouse.gov. I'd ask Barney, but he never wants to talk about dividends.

(This reply were posted later:)
"The answer is Barney was born on September 30, 2000. He's the pup of then-Governor Whitman's Scottie, Coors. (Coors passed away late last year.) Anyway, the President, while he was governor and campaigning, bought Barney for Mrs. Bush for her birthday in November of '00. I'm not sure what his favorite toy is, but he loves playing with a soccer ball on the South Lawn. He's also known to love playing with the mechanical shoe buffer in the East Wing (it's black and fuzzy -- just like him!). If you'd like to see a video of Barney, check out Barney-cam at www.whitehouse.gov/holiday."--BB, 5/7/03.

Stealing the Show: "Hay bales, a brewing storm and the loud chirping of birds added plenty of central Texas ambiance to the news conference. But it was Bush's dog, Barney, who threatened to steal the show.

"The Scottie snuffled around the gravel at their feet. But then he decided that nuzzling his master's leg was more entertaining. As an oblivious Howard spoke of weighty matters of state, the dog's antics had Bush, and the assembled media horde, struggling to hold back laughter.

"Later, the dog earned a good-natured scolding from the president.

"'OK, Barney, come on. Quit showing off,' Bush said as he and Howard, and their wives, made their way back toward the truck."--AP, reporting on the president's news conference with Australian Prime Minister John Howard at the Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch, 5/3/03.

Earlier Barney news

Note: If you spot Barney in the media--or in person--please let BB know all about it!

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