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Rhodent upstages Obama

By MARK S. SMITH
May 21, 2010

Obama and uninvited guest (AP)

In the midst of his battle with the titans of Wall Street, President Barack Obama was nearly upstaged by a rodent.

Obama had just begun a Rose Garden statement lauding the end of a Senate filibuster on his financial overhaul when some kind of rodent dashed out of the bushes to his right, just outside the Oval Office.

As photographers snapped away in the sun-drenched garden, the critter scurried straight past the gray podium with the presidential seal and made a bee-line for another set of bushes to Obama’s left.

It’s not clear if the president could even see the streaker, but he didn’t show any reaction. And he concluded his statement minutes later, returning to his office without answering a few shouted questions on other topics.

Once he was safely inside the Oval Office, a fierce debate erupted among the photographers and reporters who’d witnessed the dash. Was it a rat or a mouse? Or maybe a mole, or some other kind of related creature.

Before long, experts had joined the fray.

“I would partially rule out rat,” said Russell Link, a wildlife biologist who works for the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. “That’s due to the lack of a tail that is typically equal to body length.”

After viewing a photograph of the surprising scurry, Link said, “My suspicion is it’s a vole, commonly called a ‘meadow mouse’ out our way.”

In fact, this wasn’t the first time a rodent’s been spied in the White House, or even the Rose Garden.

Just last week, as camera crews set up for an Obama statement on the Gulf oil spill, what’s believed to have been the same rodent made a dash across the famous garden.

The press work areas behind the White House briefing room have had at least one rat sighting, though that was before a multimillion-dollar rehab project finished by the Bush administration.

Moreover, rodents of all kinds are pretty common in Washington. From time to time, city officials issue alarms about surges in the rat population when residents put out extra-big summer piles of garbage.

Washington is, after all built, along a river, on what used to be a malarial swamp.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press

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9 Responses to Rhodent upstages Obama

  1. Bogofree

    May 21, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Might have been Bernie Madoff. If it was a weasel it would have been part of the administration.

  2. Mightymo

    May 21, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    What we didn’t see was that this rodent was preceeded by a bunch of frightened elephants running away from it like a bunch of little school girls, so much for Republican muscle.

  3. Almandine

    May 21, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    As if the vole should feel proud of himself for such braggadocio.

  4. griff

    May 22, 2010 at 3:50 am

    “Moreover, rodents of all kinds are pretty common in Washington.”

    Indeed, vermin of all shapes and sizes seem drawn to Washington – rats and weasels being the most common critters to be found.

    And as usual, the One refused to answer questions.

  5. Odo

    May 22, 2010 at 4:30 am

    It may have been a Pocket Gopher. Pocket Gophers vehmently protested that White House Squirrels frequently skitter across Obama press confrences in front
    of the Podium and are routinely ignored by the Press. However, the Pocket Gophers are in complete agreement with the White House Squirrels Two Nuts policy refering to Obama & Biden

  6. Guardhouse lawyer

    May 22, 2010 at 5:23 am

    I saw the headline and wondered, “Who the HELL is Rhodent?” A Congresscritter? A diplomat? A head of state?

    • Almandine

      May 23, 2010 at 7:59 pm

      I guess it would be too easy to say, “Ahhh clueless again.”

  7. b mcclellan

    May 23, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    Maybe it was the ghost of Benedict Arnold Sorretto.

  8. Carl Nemo

    May 23, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    It’s an omen for sure! As our ‘dear leader’ proselytized the merits of this so-called ‘financial overhaul’, this little rodent surely represents the first of many to abandon the USS America prior to its plunge to the bottom. We best heed the little guy’s actions and find our own respective safer haven in the months to come.

    This President is simply a glad-handing, perpetually campaigning applause junkie; ie., our “Potemkin preznit”. As far as genuine solutions for this nation are concerned, forget it. It’s business as usual whether it’s giving money and “get out of jail cards” to the unholy Wall Street/Banking axis, faux healthcare legislation, managing oil spills and now this financial system overhaul; it’s all highly tainted with favors to the corporations while “We the people” continue to take it in the shorts… : |

    Carl Nemo **==