June 21st, 2009
01:29 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama and daughters visit frozen custard shop

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/21/art.bocustard0620.gi.jpg caption="The president took his daughters out for a frozen treat on Saturday."]
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.

Filed under: Obama family • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (301 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Why is this news?

    June 21, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  2. EcoAZ

    Hey CNN, you missed your chance this year, but how about next year you focus instead on real Great Dad stories from "average" Americans. Find the real heroes that don't get medals or media play. Just a thought.

    June 21, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  3. angie

    Why is this news?

    June 21, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  4. deus_ex_machina

    Okay, seriously. After some initial reservations, I voted for the guy. And no amount of GOP fear-mongering has or will made me regret it; I think he's doing a bang-up job, and I have a long enough attention span to remember that W sat on his hands while Kim Jong-Il acquired nukes and launched missiles into the Sea of Japan, and also started this so-called "decline into Socialism" – as if any of them would recognize Socialism if it bit them on the ass.

    But, for the love of God – people are *dying* in Iran. *Dying!!!* Being beaten, shot, and disappeared in a way that makes Kent State look like mild overzealousness on the part of the National Guard. And CNN gives us these gems:

    "Obama wore slacks and a short-sleeve shirt, and both daughters wore t-shirts and pants for the casual outing"


    "Upon entering, Obama shook Davis' hand ("just right, not too firm and not wimpy")."

    and even better:

    "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."

    Woah. Nice work there, Woodward and Bernstein. Look, the burger run was enough, okay? We get the point, he's a nice guy and he knows what the little bar-code reader at the supermarket does. But it's run its course.

    What's worse is, now you've given a platform for morons like "sifto77", who seems to think that he shouldn't be allowed to take his daughters for ice cream because someone might take a picture, and that this has something to do with Sarah Palin...or deadbeat dads, for that matter. (News flash: any bashing Sarah Palin gets, she brings upon herself, first by being a deplorable human being, and second, by pretending to operate in the same intellectual sphere as any previous Vice-President not named Quayle).

    Both the writer of this story and the editor who allowed it should be fired, or at least given unpaid leave so they can work on a gritty, hard-hitting expose about unemployment "in these tough times".

    That, or send them to Teheran so they can develop some sense of what news is.

    June 21, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  5. Jennifer

    Thanks for sharing these tidbits about the Obama family's life. Just like the stories of Bush clearing brush on his ranch in Crawford or pictures of Clinton playing with Buddy, this story humanizes the President. it is a nice break from the political back and forth. I am sure these small businesses do not mind the attention brought to them by the President and the media coverage.

    June 21, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  6. Champly

    If Barry is not exploiting his children then the press would have been kept at arms length and we would not have received detailed information about their frozen treats. These two kids would be better off unsupervised for an hour with BIll Clinton (the husband of his Secretary of State) than being used as a propaganda tool by Barry Obama.

    June 21, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  7. Jon from Indiana

    I'm alright with a couple sentences saying Obama celebrates Father Day with his daughters at custard shop, whatever. But why in the world does CNN feel the need to interview the employees and find out exactly what kind of custard he got? The level of detail in this 'article' makes me want to throw up. CNN is obviously running a jobs program during the recession, because they are extremely overstaffed. Get a life, media, and stop obsessing over everything your hero does.

    June 21, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  8. bcdiver

    Sheesh! Funny how the democrats were all upset that when Bush #1 made a jump with the Golden Knights and it made the news. Now that anyone says the same thing about Obama making news with this stuff they get in a tiff! Sheesh, come on democrats, hard for us to take you seriously now isn't it? Heck you are pilling on money to the deficit and you are trying to blame G.W. for it!

    June 21, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  9. lescroc

    Jane! You sould like Jane and you make him sound like Tarzan! Sounds like to me you are Idolizling BHO!. Have you seen the new bumper sticker that is out there!

    Obama and God have only one thing in common "They both do not have a birth certificate" The biggest difference is that God does not think he is OBAMA.

    Quite Idolizing BHO, put him back into the tree's so you and him can act like jane and tarzan.

    He is no different then any other dad, that is unless your acting like
    Monica, maybe some one ought to tell MS BHO.

    June 21, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |

    Raqther than spend so much time on what and where Obama did on Fathers day. Everyone should try to understand how hard he is working to make America a better place for everyone, NOT JUST THE WEALTHY, Health care is one item that everyone needs not just the rich.

    Over the past few months there have been too many articles about hard working Americans that THOUGHT they had health insurance until thye had to make a claim. Then they found out that they had been paying big amounts of money for a policy that gave them nothing when they needed it. The only one that got anything was th einsurance company they got BIG PROFITS.

    Health care must not be a for profit operation. Health care must be for sdthe people that need it.

    Yes there is a cost but we all know that there is no free lunch. But the Government plan would not cost the individuel any more than what they currently pay for a insurance plan that does not provide coverage.

    STOP letting the Republican PArty of FEAR prevent you from supporting something WE ALL KNOW IS ESSENTIAL

    June 21, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  11. The Party of NO is only “pro-life” to save a zygote now, so it can then kill the “babies” 18 years later as soldiers in an elective religious war.

    @gerda edwards,

    No, but did you gift your father with another of your "sisters" this Father's Day?

    June 21, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  12. Alan

    All I can say is it's obvious Republicans have no understanding of the concept of majority rules - unless they are in power.

    You are not in power now. Your ideology is followed by a tiny minority of the country. You lost the election.

    Offer solutions or shut up and go away.

    June 21, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  13. croverturf

    ....shaking my head while reading these comments...how sad.

    June 21, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  14. jennifer

    Vegage, North Korea is many miles away from us too. Shouldn't Obama be busy meeting with our military experts to have a plan ready? Unemployment is getting worse with no end in sight. Obama should be so busy that he can only join the girls in the rose garden for some ice cream. He can still be a good Father without making a show of it. And stop calling everyone a republican, if you don't agree with them. I'm an independent.

    June 21, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  15. Champly

    Dear Observer – I agree. In fact there should be no "profit motive" in anything. Nationalize food, clothing, autos (whoops, already happened), banking (whoops, already done), frozen treats (especially those with animal based products), the Internet (Barry's czar is working on that). Yeap, eliminate all of those dirty profits and personal choices in every facet of our lives. Sounds good to me.

    June 21, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  16. Gerda Edwards

    The shop owner "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."
    Liar. She obviously didn't get the Obama Administration memo about needing to always fear-monger about the economy that they inherited. Not being in an essential service industry, she MUST be on the brink of bankruptcy and the Feds MUST save her.

    June 21, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  17. Nice to see a sense of normalcy...

    It is nice to see a President have a sense of "normal" in his life...by going outside of the bunker and being around the average American...no MORE "OUT OF TOUCH" BUSH BUNKER...

    Did W stand for "W"ay out of touch?

    June 21, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  18. Nero

    To the person "Davis" in this story; you are the perfect host and a true human being.

    Most people would love to have the power of the Presidency but with it comes a lack of being. Neither the President, First Lady or the two girls have the freedom we people have in our daily lives.

    It is a pleasure reading that you "Davis" treated them like ordinary people; I am sure they were happy and appreciate your efforts. Best wishes to you and your staff and all the fathers out there in father-land.

    June 21, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  19. Rutherford

    REPUBLICANS need to SHUT UP!!!!!!

    Here is a great man that takes time to be with his family. These are the same values you hypocritical Repubs push then do things behind the scene (e.g. Larry Craig, Ensigns). This man walks the walk.

    June 21, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  20. Shayne from NH

    @ John from Indianna:

    You couldn't have said it better.

    June 21, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  21. mxxxr

    This type of story makes Obama an ordinary family man like most of us. It also is a feel-good story. That is killing the conservatives. Right now all they wish is bad news. Want to see smile in GOP face? Let the country be attacked.

    June 21, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  22. matt

    so whats the Messiah going to do when the Iranian president decides to unleash hezbollah against Israel to make the world turn its attention way from Iran

    June 21, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  23. Stop the Hateration

    We all should be thankful that we have a President in office who is also a family man. He is running the county, making countless major decisions on a daily basis, a husband, a father, friend .. I mean GEEZE are u Republicans that threatened that u even have to criticize him taking his daughters out for custard. Its obvious you are haters, haters of what is GOOD and of some one who has your best interest at heart, yes you too Republicans. I bet you were not complaining when that stimulus packaged came thru!
    Darn shame, Us Democrats will continue to pray for you!

    June 21, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  24. Mike O'Brien

    Why wasn't I invited ? Mike in Montana

    June 21, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  25. whatever repubs are hypocrits

    come on bush went down in history as the president that took the most vacations as president than any other man who spent time in office, and president obama spends a day or two with his family and he is wrong? if spending time with his family makes him a bad president then i will take that over george bush anytime. by the way its june we have a littlt under 3 more months untill september 11th if we make it past that date with no terrorist attacks then president obama is doing a way better job then george bush did. and all you repubs have to quit complaining that the country is any less safe. this is wrong that anyone would complain about our president showing his love for his children by spending some time with them for fathers day. THIS IS FATHERS DAY TO ALL YOU FATHERS ENJOY IT.

    June 21, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
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