The official White House line is that President Obama is delaying his Christmas trip to Hawaii on the off-chance that House Republicans will act on the payroll tax to his liking.
But even as his press secretary was saying that during the afternoon briefing with reporters on Wednesday, Obama was unwittingly revealing another possible explanation: he hasn't finished buying his Christmas gifts yet.
Yes, after placing a ten-minute call to House Speaker John Boehner over the lunch hour, Obama and his dog Bo hopped into the SUV and went shopping across the river in Alexandria, Va.
The big purchases of the day were iTunes gift cards and video games for his daughters at Best Buy -- including the new Just Dance 3 for the White House Wii.
So much for surprising Malia and Sasha.
"The girls beat me every time on these dance games," he told reporters as he shopped. "But you'll never get a picture of me [playing] because I get graded F every time."
After Del Ray pizza for Obama and a chew toy for Bo, the two headed back to the White House. The Obamas must like the Alexandria shopping plaza where the president went. Michelle Obama was photographed shopping at a Target there earlier this year.
Meanwhile, at the Capitol, Boehner was hoping for another gift -- a change of heart. He told Obama during their call that he wants Democratic and Republican negotiators to reopen the payroll tax cut and come up with a deal that lasts a full year.
The Obama team is adamant. The best "avenue" out of the "cul de sac" the House Republicans have driven into on the issue is to pass the Senate version, Carney said.
A new deal is not on the president's shopping list.
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