WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama and his two daughters enjoyed a pre-Father's Day visit to a dessert shop Saturday.
The president took 10-year-old Malia and 8-year-old Sasha to The Dairy Godmother frozen custard store in Alexandria, Virginia, a short drive across the Potomac River from Washington.
Obama wore slacks and a short-sleeve shirt, and both daughters wore t-shirts and pants for the casual outing, which drew cheers from surprised onlookers.
The president's security detail screened customers seeking to enter the shop while the Obamas were inside.
Shop owner Liz Davis told CNN her first inkling that something out of the ordinary was happening came when several men wearing suits entered her store.
"My manager and I were thinking, 'Wow, they're kinda fancy-dressed for Saturday," she said. "And then they came and said that we were going to be getting a special visitor in about five minutes and would I let them up on the roof?"
She got the key and did just that. When she returned to the store, which was doing a brisk business, at least a dozen Secret Service agents had joined the regular customers, she said.
"I told my staff to put on clean aprons and we just did our usual thing," she said. "We continued waiting on our customers until they came in."
Upon entering, Obama shook Davis' hand ("just right, not too firm and not wimpy").
Except for cutting in line ("nobody minded at all, everybody was very happy to see them"), the first family's experience was like that of any other customer, Davis said.
Sasha got a waffle cone with vanilla custard; Malia got a brownie sundae and vanilla custard and hot fudge with whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry, she added.
Their father got a cup of vanilla custard with hot fudge and toasted almonds, she said.
But it didn't end there. After Malia decided she didn't want the whipped cream on her sundae, "the president just took a spoon and put it on his sundae, which is a scene that we see enacted multiple times every day, but it was nice to see it enacted by them in just a normal family way."
After getting their $12.40 order (they paid cash), the family sat in the store and ate, she said.
The transaction went both ways. "My gift to him was to give him as normal an experience as possible for him and his children," she said, noting that she had no qualms about letting him pay.
"I didn't ask him to pose with me, I didn't ask him for his autograph. I wanted it to be just like he was a regular customer coming here because I'm sure it must be really hard for those children to be where they are right now. He probably just wanted to get them custard and not have it be a big deal."
But she did give at least one member of the first family special treatment - three puppy pops for the first dog, Bo.
Davis, who developed her taste for frozen custard growing up in Wisconsin, said the global downturn has not affected her adversely, with her business of 18 part time and two full-time employees up about 20 percent this year over last.
"Maybe they're coming to me instead of doing something more expensive," she said.
Davis said neither the president nor his daughters said they liked the custard, but she's confident they did. "They ate it all," she said.
– CNN's Tom Watkins contributed to this story.
I like seeing a father give his daughters a time out for ice cream. He's a great role model for men who don't think they need to take responsibility for their children. He's not out for a photo shoot. He's just a good dad. The negative comments about this are pathetic.
Exploited?? Someone actually said President Obama is exploiting his daughters by taking them out for ice cream? Oh brother. If anything, this man should be applauded for taking the time to just be a dad – what a wonderful example he sets for all of us.
I love the Obama family and voted unashamedly for President Obama; ANYTHING was better than what we had for 8 years that ruined our country, placed us in tenous and awkward positions with other countries and left us in a terrible hole. Not to mention the war that So don't get me wrong – I like Obama, his wife and kids. (BTW I am a college educated, African-American female who has always voted democratic. The Republican party which is run by a bunch of stodgy, rich, lying old white men, holds NO appeal for me.)
However, I have 3 sons and am with them everyday – day after day after day, after day, while their father works very hard to provide for them. So, why the freak is it news when Obama does what he's supposed to do – spend time with his kids???!!!
I know it won't happen over night, but I would like to see some sort of indication that things are getting better for me and my family, and not so many photo ops for the President. I don't care who eats what kind of ice cream. I would like to see the money that vanished from our retirement savings reappear just as quickly as it disappeared. Does anybody want to tell us where we stand on that????!!!!! Will the people in this country EVER get a life and get focused on what is really important??!!!! Can somebody tell me where the money is that Bush, Cheney and their croonies stole over eight years? Where is it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can somebody tell me what is ACTUALLY being accomplished? Forget the pictures and the mundane details of the first families lives. No offense, but I really don't care about that.
Barack Obama was in his role as a father not the President when out with his daughters for ice cream. Has nothing to do with the left or the right-Palin or Letterman; ABC-NBC or-CBS. They were out for ice cream. Barack Obama didn't turn this into a media event the fact that he is the President does. I think you who choose to criticize should follow the example of that shop owner-and give the President some slack.
"Exploiting his children" by loving them and wanting to be with them as often as possible. Wow! Some of you are so full of hate that you're minds are poisened. Anyway, I am so happy to have a President that practices family values, not just talk about it. President Obama you are an inspiration to fathers everywhere, especially in poor urban areas where men need role models. Thank you.
Now for those men that are good fathers and had great fathers in their lives, you should recognize a great father when you see one. Stop hating!
Who cares–this piece really shows that CNN is a looser. I shouldn't waste my time on CNN–but–often I like a good laugh.
Oh, and to sk, I'm in Florida and I surely care about this President and his family, because it tells me that I voted for a man who not only is intelligent, forward thinking and a good leader but that he is also a good person. Please, people, stop being so hateful. Disagree with his policies if you want, but stop attacking him on these very personal fronts.
this is news? Please CNN needs to stop with stupid news bits. He swats a fly. BREAKING NEWS. He takes his wife to dinner and orders a slice of cake for dessert. BREAKING NEWS. Now, "We're sorry to interrupt your life but we have VERY IMPORTANT BREAKING NEWS, Pres Obama has taken his daughters for FROZEN CUSTARD!"
With all that is happening in Iran/Iraq/Palestine/Israel/UNITED STATES, all CNN thinks to report is ICE CREAM drivel!?!?!!
Casey in California: You are exactly right. CNN has purposely placed this ridiculous tabloid gossip blog first to stir up the hate and moronic remarks. It will be the lead story all day and more comments will be "allowed" than anyother blog for the day.
To think that a news media places more importance than a US Senator calling for an American backed regime change in another country is really telling of the state of news in this country.
President Obama does NOT chose what is published or written; the press does.
No one can love Obama as much as Obama loves Obama.
Well, isn't that nice. So what. Z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z.
All the Obamabots are gushing over this syrupy story.
I have a sentence for the Republicans.Stop slamming President Obama and start working to make America Strong again.
Now down to business and Health Care.Funny how ones in the Senate talk and say what the American people want and don't want while they are the ones talking to the media by trying to keep the lies going about Health Care.If a Goverment Run Health Care was as bad as they want the American to believe they themselves would get rid of it.
Bush's health Care is Run by the Goverment as well as Clinton.In fact
everyone working for the Goverment has Goverment Health Care that We the People have been paying for.
Ones in the Senate that don't want it are sleeping with the Ins Companies.They would lose their Campaign Contributions,dollars of many incentives.This is not what they are telling the people.They are afraid if more gets it they themselves will have to pay high $$.
It's time for the media to come full force,with the American people to do what is right along with the Senators that work for the American People.The other Senators can step down and we'll vote for ones that do want to work for what we are paying for.
Happy Father's Day Mr. President!
You're doing a wonderful job! America is behind it's president.
Off to a great start in fixing the republican mess.
A gentleman, scholar, statesman, and fine example of what a dad should be.
Keep up the good work President Obama!
I see the southern redneck hillbillies are out this morning spewing their usual venom.They must be at a clan rally with their laptops.hahaha
"I , for one, am tired of Obama exploiting his kids and then blasting deadbeat dads and moms. Palin can't even take her daughter to a ballgame without being smeared by Obamabots. Why does he need tp prove that he sees his kids once in a while? He needs to try and help solve the country's problems and stay off the "photo-op circuit". Where is the photo of him picking up dog BO's dump?"
Sifto77, Boy you're so jealous, where's the photo of you picking up your dog dump. Give the man a break, Obama don't need a photo op to prove he's a great Dad, he just is. Happy Father's day all the Dads and Moms that are both mother and father to their kids. See Ya
Can someone please explain to me how Obama and his family are not displaying traditional family values on Father's Day, and how the people who have submitted hateful anti-Obama comments on here are somehow righteous.
You'll call for Dave Letterman to get fired when he makes a tasteless comment about Sarah Palin, but then you make tasteless comments about Obama and his girls. Hypocrites.
Some of you are so full of hate that you're hopeless and I feel sorry for you. I for one love to see our President interacting with his family. I wonder why it bothers you so much? I'm quite sure that he and his children would prefer that a photographer did not take their every movement, but that's what's to be expected when you're the first African-American President and we have not had young children in the White House for so long. Get over it people. I'm touched and feel the love between the Obama family. Thank God – they need it with all the haters and racists that they have to deal with. The good thing is that there are more and more American's that are fair minded, inclusive and not full of hate and their numbers are increasing, which is why the Republican party will be like the Whig party in just a couple of years. Yeah!
Norman Rockwell , would have admired this President, he tried to capture normal family life in most every picture he painted . This President and his family give me hope that we Americans see a picture that no matter how hard times get , having a time out with your family,sitting in an Ice Cream store for a couple minuets with your kids is what this country is all about . There will be those who call this government waste, to me its little price to pay to have a Family that brings back life to that Old House. We don't lock up our First Family in this country . Have a good Father's Day World .
I agree this shouldn't be "breaking news," but I seem to recall the fervor over a president choking on a pretzel, forgetting how to exit a door, or complete a sentence. All not on Fox News, of course. Before you respond in "kind" I voted for the former president.
Shame on you sifto77, if you had some respect for yourself you wouldn't be talking about our President like that. Afterall, he is the President of a great nation. Take a deep breath and cherish every moment of your day no matter how bad it may seam. Believe me things will get better, they alway do. Life is too short for unpleasantness. What is life without some challenges to tuckle along the way anyways :)
Exploiting his children, really? You call an outing that includes his children exploitation (those of you that did)? So maybe he should plan to only spend time with his children only in the White House? The president and his family ARE news...good grief....what nasty people ~ ugly Americans.
No matter your politics, no matter his policy, no matter his popularity, everything this man, our President, will be news. Don't look, quit comment. I quit looking/commenting on the Palin (especially about her family) tickers, becasue I realized I had nothing nice to say.
Happy Father's Day to all and to our President.
Really, this is news? We have millions out of work, without health care, pro Democracy activists are being killed by their government in Iran and CNN says, "Obama and daughters visit frozen custard shop." We didn't get a "President" we got a cult of personality. When do the large pictures of Dear Leader start appearing everywhere?
TCM hit it on the head. (Good father image, diversions, and brown-nosing.)
I am so tired of the double standards. I grew up with, worked, and lived with different sets of established double standards. The only difference is who is in charge at any given level to enforce these double standards. We now have a racist family in the White House demanding their race be in certain positions, very similar to the 1920-1950s. I think they may be more closely alligned with Rev. Wright's idealogy than they say they are.
You're so right, Mark. You shouldn't waste your time on CNN. Do us ALL a favor and go back to the Fox Opinions Station or website where your negativity will be SO appreciated.
At least he didn't claim for it like the MPs in Britain do.