GLENSIDE, Pa. -- "Let's get a dozen of those."
With that, Barack Obama had his white roses, a little anniversary gift for his wife as they celebrate 16 years together tonight. Obama is making an unusual Friday night departure from the campaign trail to head home to Chicago for the occasion; he and his wife, Michelle, are going to dinner at an Italian restaurant they like.
After a rally in Abington, Pa. Obama stopped by Pennyís Flowers in nearby Glenside. "So Iím thinking maybe just some roses," he said. "I'm thinking maybe not red, maybe yellow?" After surveying the options, he went with white.
A worker at the store, Mary Darcy, wrapped them up with baby's breath and cellophane. The owner brought over an Obama sign, which he signed with a Sharpie. He paid the bill -- $47.70 -- on a credit card, and went outside to greet about 200 people who had gathered on the street. Two blocks later, the motorcade was driving past a group of screaming elementary school children. Obama couldn't resist; he got out and shook a few hands.
The other night, on a flight from Washington to Grand Rapids, Mich. Obama was offering reporters some tips on maintaining a healthy marriage. No real gems of wisdom, just some self-evident rules of the road: "Sense of humor, listening."
"Never forget an anniversary?" he was asked.
"No, because Michelle forgot my first one," he said, adding "Never get so mad that you forget why you love them."
Of course, nothing's terribly romantic when you're tailed more or less all the time by a small battalion of aides, Secret Service agents, and media.
"I wish I could just slip in and get some flowers for my wife," he lamented while shopping at Penny's.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.