It is, of course, an election year, which means there is even a greater interest than usual in all things presidential.
Even the children's story hour at the Maryville Public Library struck a political note Saturday with a book about Bo, the Portuguese water dog famously purchased by President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for daughters Malia and Sasha after the family moved into the White House.
What made the regular late-morning book party special was the reader. Dick Schott, a retired Navy corpsman and educator who lives in St. Joseph, knows Bo personally.
Schott's daughter, Michelle, is a U.S. Navy nurse who provided personal medical care to President George W. Bush during his second term and continued in that role for 18 months in the Obama White House.
A man with nine grandchildren, Schott knows how to read a children's book, and he took his young audience on a leisurely trip through "First Pooch: The Obamas Pick a Pet" by Carole Boston Weatherford, broadening the tale with stories about his own visits to the White House and his daughter's life as a member of the president's official family.
After all, it's not every proud father whose child calls him from Air Force One just to tell him where she'll be that night and not to worry.
Schott had done his homework, and he leavened Weatherford's book with history lessons about other presidential canines, a doggy tradition that goes back to George Washington, who kept fox hounds.
Other notable presidential pets mentioned by Schott included Fala, Franklin Roosevelt's Scottish terrier, whose name was used as a password by American GI's during the Battle of the Bulge, and Buddy, Bill Clinton's chocolate Labrador retriever.
Schott also talked about how the Obamas had at first wanted a shelter dog of a breed distinctly associated with the United States — no German shepherds or English bulldogs for the America's first family.
"When you get older," Schott said, "you'll find out that this is called politics."
In the end of course, the desire for political correctness was frustrated because of Malia's allergies, and Bo was purchased thanks to his breed's purportedly hypoallergenic coat.
In addition to reading Weatherford's book and telling stories about his family's experiences in the White House, Schott also passed around a picture of his daughter and her family standing with President Obama in the Oval Office. Another image showed Schott doing a photo op with Bo himself.
One of Schott's more interesting observations was how Bo was acquired in order to fulfill a presidential promise, one of the White House's most time-honored traditions. Calvin Coolidge, he said, guaranteed "a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage." John F. Kennedy pledged to send a man to the moon.
Page 2 of 2 - President Obama, on election night in front of a television audience of millions, promised his little girls they could have the puppy they'd been asking for, proving that while some political pledges are kept and some are broken, one, at least, barks.