With Karen Hughes long gone, a 10-week-old named Miss Beazley moved yesterday to become the dominant female on the White House staff.
The tiny Scottish terrier puppy, a birthday gift from the president to Laura Bush, came to live yesterday with the first family and the previous top Scottie, Barney, who is 4. Her appointment does not require Senate confirmation. The White House did, however, schedule a ceremonial introduction, and shortly after 2 p.m., the president and the first lady brought both dogs out to meet the media.
Barney, who has become the star of his own professionally produced White House promotional videos, trotted briskly ahead of them. Mrs. Bush carried the puppy toward the grass, then gently sat her down. "C'mon Beazley," commanded the president. "David Gregory" -- the NBC White House correspondent -- "has a question."
The puppy ignored the president.
Mrs. Bush said the dogs had bonded nicely, but when Barney attempted to deliver the canine's gentlemanly handshake -- a sniff -- Beazley refused to stand still for it. Perhaps attracted by several fuzzy mikes -- which do bear a resemblance to the terrier's prime prey, the common rat -- Beazley wobbled toward more than 50 cameras recording her South Lawn arrival. Then, without taking questions, she ran for the bushes, disappearing through a hole in the hedge. "So much for you all," the president said to the media scrum.
He attempted to call her back, and Barney lifted up on his rear legs to have a look. Eventually, the pup ambled back into the picture, Mrs. Bush scooped her up and the two-legged and four-legged Bushes went back into the White House.
"It's her first day at the White House," said Gordon Johndroe, Mrs. Bush's press secretary. "We will get her some media training."
Barney, too, was a gift from the president to his wife, but the Scottie quickly became the president's dog. "He's the son I never had," Bush once cracked. This puppy is supposed to be for the first lady, but when Beazley arrived yesterday, she first met privately with the president in the Rose Garden. Only after that did Mrs. Bush come down and meet her new baby. Barney then came and played with the puppy, said Johndroe. Beazley also made an appearance at a luncheon the first lady was hosting for her mother-in-law, Barbara Bush, and several friends to celebrate the senior Bushes' 60th wedding anniversary. Barbara Bush's dog, Millie, was a beloved presidential dog, and her daughter, Spot, went to live with George and Laura Bush in the White House until she died last February. Barney missed her, so Beazley is intended to keep him company.
"Barney will have to teach her that he is boss," said Lisa Peterson, a breeder and spokeswoman for the American Kennel Club. "He will know that she is a very young puppy and clueless about other behaviors."
She'll take over, predicted Patricia Gilmore, who bred the puppy and owns Beazley's mother, Blackwatch Elizabeth. "She's like every other woman," said Gilmore, of Livingston, N.J. "She will control everything."
According to the American Kennel Club Web site, "terriers typically have little tolerance for other animals, including other dogs. In general, they make engaging pets but require owners with the determination to match their dogs' lively character."
Miss Beazley has a bipartisan pedigree. Her father, Ch. Motherwell Alberta Clipper, was born Election Day 2000, and his call name is Clinton. (His siblings, Bush and Gore, did not survive.) Clinton is also Barney's half brother, making Barney an uncle, of sorts. The first lady and her daughters named Beazley for a character in a children's book, "The Enormous Egg," a fable written by Oliver Butterworth in 1956 in response to McCarthy-era abuses. Uncle Beazley, the book's triceratops protagonist, outgrew his little town and came to Washington, where he fought a senator trying to have him exterminated for being out of place.
As purebreds, both Barney and Beazley have the characteristics of Scotties; they are smart and quick, eager to hunt and kill vermin.
If they are not allowed to reduce the rat population across the street in Lafayette Square, perhaps the president can use them on Capitol Hill.