But I don't remember seeing any pet stories this time around. Do these men not have pets? Is this a new trend? Men without pets?
It turns out that Barack Obama, in fact, has no pets. McCain?
He’s got the usual dogs—four of them actually: two Yorkshire terriers, Lucy and Desi; an English springer spaniel, Sam; and a mutt, Coco—and a black-and-white cat named Oreo. But he also reportedly owns two turtles (Cuff and Link), three parakeets, and thirteen saltwater fish. And in the past he’s had guinea pigs, snakes, and “an iguana that Jack walked on a leash,” according to Vogue, plus a ferret. The ferret recently died of cancer, and though McCain called it “a very cute animal,” he also told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren in a joint interview with his wife that, “Rather than alienate the pro-pet constituency, I will remain silent about the loss of our ferret,” implying that perhaps Cindy was the impetus behind that acquisition. Indeed, Cindy seems to be more of an animal person than John. “She loves animals, just not always ones that I appreciate,” he told Vogue. It was Cindy who went out and bought the two terriers as she coped with their daughter Meghan's graduating college and leaving home. But McCain has proven his devotion to his pets: About five years ago, as the New York Times’ Caucus blog reported, Coco the mutt began choking (on either a treat or a piece of meat—memories differ), and McCain attempted a sort of doggie Heimlich. When that failed, McCain stuck two of his fingers down the dog’s throat and cleared the blockage, saving the dog.
Requisite ferret link. ("This excessive concern with little weasels is a sickness.")
ADDED: What President had dogs named Sweet Lips, Scentwell, Vulcan, Drunkard, Taster, Tipler, and Tipsy? What President had, for pets, 2 tiger cubs? What President gave his dog the absurdly uncreative name Fido?
AND: Apparently, Obama promised he'd get his daughters a dog after the campaign is over, and the American Kennel Club ran a poll that determined that the breed he should get is.... poodle.
ALSO: I think poodle -- a large ("standard") poodle -- is a great dog choice, and it's probably what I would get. But I cannot picture an American male politician with a poodle. It doesn't have the right connotations... and not just because we associate it with a foreign country. (Bush has Scotties.) Mainstream Americans think bad thoughts about poodles, and the President has better things to do than to retrain our poodle-thoughts. Also, with poodles, you have to pick black or white. Obama can't do that! He could get 2, black and white, but that would seem as though he were trying too hard for symbolism. Yes, I know there are red poodles. Still... Maybe an American male politician could get a nice red labradoodle.
But wait. It's a dog for his daughters. I think those little girls should -- after all this -- get whatever dog or dogs they want. If they want to walk around holding little chihuahuas, they should do it. Or do they have their own image consultants, building their political careers, determining the precise dog that will say what's best to say?