(KATAKAMI / POLITICO44) IOWA CITY, Iowa – President Obama made a surprise visit to an independent bookstore in downtown Iowa City after delivering a speech on health care reform.
“Well, this used to be my favorite place,” Obama said as he walked around the store, Prairie Lights.
Obama looked around in pursuit of a couple of books for his daughters, Sasha and Malia.
Along his way he picked up “No Apology” by Mitt Romney and “Courage and Consequence” by Karl Rove.
“What do you think guys?” he asked reporters, holding up a hardback copy in each hand before setting them back down.
Obama disappeared downstairs for a few minutes and emerged with two books: “Journey to the River Sea” by Eva Ibbotson and “The Secret of Zoom” by Lynne Jonell.
He pulled out five $20 bills to pay the cashier and then offered to pick up the book his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, had grabbed: a large Star Wars pop-up book for his six-year-old son, Ethan.
“It’s a little expensive, sir,” Gibbs said to his boss as he handed it over. Obama nonetheless forked over the $37.44 for the book.
“I can handle it,” he said. “It’s for keeping his dad away for too many hours a day.”
“I need more books than that, sir,” Gibbs remarked.
Obama thanked the employees.
“You have a wonderful bookstore,” he said, adding that hopefully he’s helping “to make sure everybody has health insurance.”
He then shook a few hands of customers in the store. Someone remarked about the significance of his dropping by the store.
Obama said he hoped so. “It’s not every day a president stops by,” he said.
On his way out the door, Obama said the books he purchased for his daughters were “based on recommendations.”
“Of course the question is how they take to them, but I think they’re going to like them,” he said.