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City of Brass

While in Iowa today, President Obama went book-shopping:

“Well, this used to be my favorite place,” Obama told the owner of Prairie Lights, an independent downtown bookstore, as she showed him around. He had mentioned the shop in his speech, noting that it has been offering health-insurance benefits to full-time employees for the last 20 years, only to see premiums shoot up 35 percent last year, making it harder to afford the same coverage.

Obama walked around the store in search of the children’s/young adult section. Along the way he picked up “No Apology” by former GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney and “Courage and Consequence” by former Bush administration senior adviser Karl Rove.

“What do you think, guys?” Obama asked pool reporters, holding up a hardcover copy of each book before setting them back down.

On the same row was the book “Inside Obama’s Brain,” which press secretary Robert Gibbs remarked on as he walked by. Obama headed upstairs, then came back down.

A few minutes later, he stepped up to the cash register with two books for his daughters — “Journey to the River Sea” by Eva Ibbotson and “The Secret of Zoom” by Lynne Jonell — and pulled out a wad of cash. He also bought a book for Gibbs, who was holding a large Star Wars pop-up book for his 6-year-old son, Ethan.

Obama being Obama, of course, means that the books he chose are probably going to be over-analyzed. I’m fascinated by the choices myself and will probably at least look at them in the library. There’s serious star power and cachet in any President’s reading material – remember George Bush famously carrying a copy of Bias around? – but Obama has that added celebrity mystique which pretty much guarantees obsessive interest. The fact that these are books for his kids only amplifies it. Anyone doubt that all the books mentioned above will see a huge spike in sales tomorrow?

Incidentally, I found this part funny:

On his way out, Obama showed his purchases to pool reporters. The books for his daughters, Sasha and Malia, were “based on recommendations,” he explained. “Of course, the question is how they take to them, but I think they’re going to like them,” he said.

“Nothing for Mrs. Obama?” Bloomberg’s Ed Chen asked.

Obama paused to think for a second. “Thanks for getting me in trouble,” he replied.

Awesome. Obama wins on health reform, student loans, signs a nuclear treaty with Russia, and makes a secret trip to Afghanistan, defeating political and opponents left and right. And now – how the mighty have fallen!

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