U.S. president sweats over sweaters during NY shopping stop

NEW YORK, March 11 Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:17pm EDT

NEW YORK, March 11 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama took on a daunting task on Tuesday: shopping for clothes for his wife and daughters during a brief stop at a Gap store in New York.

Obama was in New York to attend two Democratic fundraisers aimed at building up campaign war chests for this year's midterm congressional elections.

At the store, he sorted carefully through sweaters in search of a purchase for one of his two daughters, Sasha and Malia, before holding up a pink one.

"I'm worried the V-neck is going to slip," the president said before opting for a regular-cut neck.

Moving to the adult women's section, Obama declared wife Michelle difficult to shop for: "Maybe I should buy some socks."

Obama had dropped by a Midtown Manhattan branch of the clothing chain to thank Gap Inc for its decision to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour this year and $10 an hour in 2015. He has been campaigning to persuade businesses and Congress to raise wages for workers at the bottom of the scale.

After picking a pair of sweaters and a blue workout jacket, Obama moved to the cash register, as reporters, photographers, aides, and Secret Service agents looked on.

"I think the ladies will be impressed by my style sense," he said, before admitting that his goal was to makes sure "that I didn't completely screw up."

Using a credit card to pay, Obama pretended that he did not know that he could sign his name on the credit card machine.

"Oh wow. So, you can sign the machine?" he said.

As reporters took note, Obama said he was teasing: "They had these around the last time I shopped."

Obama then thanked Gap for raising the minimum wage for its employees and urged other companies to do the same.

"It's not only good for them and their families, it's also good for the entire economy," he said.

The president was the headliner at the two fundraisers, which are part of an effort to make sure Democrats are well funded in congressional elections in November, in which they are scrambling to retain control of the U.S. Senate.

The first fundraiser was a roundtable discussion for the Democratic National Committee at the home of venture capitalist Alan Patricof, a longtime supporter of Hillary Clinton. The 25 supporters in attendance contributed up to $32,400.

The second was an event for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee at the home of Blackstone Group President Tony James and his wife, Amie. Tickets for the event were $32,400. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was attending.

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