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Obama takes shopping detour on fundraising trip

Tuesday, March 11, 2014
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President Barack Obama greets cashier Sonia Del Gatto at a GAP clothing store in Manhattan during his unannounced shopping visit, March 11. Obama used the visit to talk about raising the minimum hourly wage standards and applauded the GAP, who earlier in the year announced it was raising minimum wage for its employees.
President Barack Obama greets cashier Sonia Del Gatto at a GAP clothing store in Manhattan during his unannounced shopping visit, March 11. Obama used the visit to talk about raising the minimum hourly wage standards and applauded the GAP, who earlier in the year announced it was raising minimum wage for its employees.

— When in New York rubbing elbows with wealthy private equity types, might as well also go shopping.

At the Gap.

President Barack Obama, in Manhattan for some high dollar Democratic Party fundraising, made a quick, unannounced Midtown retail stop Tuesday to buy some sweaters for his daughters, athletic wear for his wife and to make a pitch for the minimum wage.

"I think the ladies will be impressed by my style sense," he said as he took his purchases to the counter.

Stylish or not, he still showed off father-like sensibilities. Examining tops for his daughters, a clerk suggested a V-neck sweater.

"I'm worried the V-neck is going to slip," he said, choosing instead round-necked alternatives — a striped, gray and white number and another in coral.

"For Michelle, I have no idea what to get. Maybe we should buy some socks," he said. He turned down a hoodie before settling on an athletic jacket for the first lady.

As he paid with a credit card — "I don't always carry my wallet," he confessed — he feigned surprise at the automated transaction. "Oh, so you can sign the machine?" he asked, recalling a similar shopping moment by former President George H.W. Bush. "I'm just teasing, everybody," he added quickly. "They had these around the last time I shopped."

He then went on to congratulate the Gap for instituting a policy of paying entry level employees a higher minimum wage. Obama has ordered that federal contractors increase the minimum wage and has asked Congress to approve an increase from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour for all employers.

But not before offering some sound advice:

"It never hurts to bring something back when you've been on a road trip," he said. "You get points when you go home."

 
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