- The Washington Times - Friday, December 12, 2003


First lady Laura Bush and first dog Barney entertained sick children yesterday with a storybook reading and a screening of a video featuring the black Scottish terrier.

Children in robes and bandages, some of them in wheelchairs, listened with rapt attention as Mrs. Bush read “Olive the Other Reindeer,” a tale of a female dog that thinks she’s a reindeer.

Keeping with the theme of her visit to the Children’s Medical Center, Mrs. Bush wore a black sweater dotted with tiny white terriers.

Barney allowed himself to be petted and held by the children after the debut of his video, “Barney Cam II: Barney Reloaded,” which is available as a free download on the White House Web site, www.whitehouse.gov.

Like last year’s video, “Barney Reloaded” provides a dog’s-eye view of the White House at Christmas. There is humor sprinkled throughout as various Bush administration officials and White House workers are shown imploring Barney to work rather than play.

In addition to President and Mrs. Bush, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, Bush spokesman Scott McClellan and political adviser Karl Rove are in the video.

In one scene, Barney is shown playing cards with former Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer. Mr. Card walks in and scolds him, “Barney, I told you no games until the decorations were done! … Ari Fleischer, you don’t even work here anymore. What are you doing here?”

Mrs. Bush, a former librarian who has focused on childhood literacy and education since her husband was elected president, brought books, kaleidoscopes and art kits for children at the hospital.

But she kept mum about what she plans to give the president for Christmas. Asked by Ahbrea Ross, 11, of Capital Heights, the first lady said, “We can’t tell. He might see us on TV.”

This is the second year Mrs. Bush has attended the hospital’s holiday program, following a tradition started by Jacqueline Kennedy.

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