On the Obama-Biden campaign website, Bo is featured because it is the third anniversary of his adoption. “It’s a promise Barack made to his daughters--that if he won the election in November 2008, he would buy them their long-awaited puppy. On April 14, 2009, Barack followed through on his promise to Malia and Sasha--the Obamas welcomed Bo into their home,” says the campaign of the Portuguese water dog.
“Now, he’s got three years under his collar as the first dog. This April, wish Bo Obama a happy anniversary as a member of the first family,” adds the campaign website in a posting headlined, “Throw Bo A Bone On His Anniversary.” Of course, that “bone” would be a campaign contribution, starting at $10.
“The first dog is wagging his tail in anticipation of four more years,” says the campaign.
Maybe so, but some think the use of the first pet to raise money is tacky. “That’s very crass,” says Claire McLean of the Presidential Pet Museum. “That’s like raffling the dog or auctioning the pet,” she adds. “It’s not presidential to do that.”
McLean says that pets have been used for fun in campaigns because they are nonpartisan. “Bo is liked by Republicans and Democrats because he doesn’t have any real political affiliation,” she said. But using him in fundraising pitches, as the campaign is, destroys that. “He becomes like a donkey or elephant,” she says of the Democratic and Republican mascots.
But she agrees that the Bo for Barack effort should be a winner for the campaign. “He’ll raise a lot of money,” she tells Secrets.