Obama promotes shops on "Small Business Saturday"

WASHINGTON Sat Nov 26, 2011 1:54pm EST

1 of 2. U.S. President Barack Obama talks to Alexander Mussehl, 5 year-old, as his daughter Malia (L) smiles at Kramerbooks in Washington, November 26, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama, eager to spur growth and hiring, took his daughters on an early Christmas shopping trip on Saturday in Washington as the U.S. retail sector got its vital holiday season underway.

Promoting "Small Business Saturday", the second annual event to help Main Street merchants in a tough U.S. economy, Obama visited a local bookstore with Malia, 13, and Sasha, 10, in the diverse, upscale Du Pont Circle area of downtown Washington.

"This is Small Business Saturday so we're out here supporting small businesses," said Obama, standing next to Malia who was hugging an armful of books to her chest.

To help merchants at the start of the most important shopping season of the year, Obama signed a message of support on Wednesday that noted small businesses "are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of our nation's promise."

On Saturday, when five-year-old Alexander Lee Mussehl stepped up to the president to say hello, the president told him he was getting an early start on Christmas shopping.

Alexander's grandmother Susan Lee, who brought him to the well-known Kramer's bookstore, got to shake Obama's hand.

"I wish I would've said something wonderful, told him to chin up, that he's doing a wonderful job," she told reporters. "It appears from the polls that there aren't many of us who think so. I wish I could have pulled myself together and told him."

Obama's approval ratings have been dented by unemployment stuck at 9 percent, and his hopes for re-election next year hinge on getting more people back to work and lifting the country's fragile recovery.

The Obamas bought eight books, including "Diary of a Wimpy Kid Cabin Fever" by Jeff Kinney; "Descent into Chaos" by Ahmed Rashid; "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick, and the Pulitzer-Prize winning "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Junot Diaz.

(Reporting by Alina Selyukh, editing by Philip Barbara)

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Comments (16)
RickCain wrote:
Sounds good to me. The mega stores are a plague on our economy and we are willing conspirators.

Nov 26, 2011 2:48pm EST  --  Report as abuse
stambo2001 wrote:
Oh-oh, those poor ‘shops’. Probably the worst thing that could happen to anything is barry stopping to talk and promote. Hopefully like everything else barry promotes and supports these ‘shops’ don’t suffer an immediate loss of revenue and support.

Nov 26, 2011 2:57pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Another “feel-good”, “earthy-crunchy”, do-gooder mentality. If you really support small businesses, you should be shopping mom and pop venues ALL YEAR round, not just on one pathetic day out of the year.

Nov 26, 2011 3:06pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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