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Barack the Tourist

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After holding a press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, President Obama left Parliament Hill in Ottawa Thursday afternoon but surprised the journalists traveling with him by making an unscheduled stop at a local market.

A stop causing pandemonium

A pool report by Wall Street Journal reporter Jonathan Weisman describes By Ward Market as a converted, indoor farmers market in an historic stretch of Ottawa. Pandemonium ensued as crowds of friendly Canadians surged to greet the president.

The President’s first stop was the Oxxo Silk Market, which appeared to sell Native American dolls and assorted tourist goods. Mr. Obama emerged with a keychain that he purchased with Canadian currency. He told Ann Compton of ABC News that, "I was looking for a key chain and a snow globe for my daughters."

A souvenir from every stop

Evidently the shopping trip continues a practice Obama began during the presidential campaign, picking up memorabilia at every stop.

Even though the stop had not been announced in advance, shoppers crowded his every move, snapping pictures. The President said he was looking for a pastry called a beaver tail. He entered a bakery called Le Moulin de Provence and announced he wanted Canadian cookies. The baker, from the South of France, obliged with Maple Leaf cookies.

Your money is no good here

"I figure I'd get some points from my daughters," Mr. Obama said. The baker refused the president’s money. “It's for your daughters," he said. "It's not for you."

As he emerged from the market, a woman waited for him with a beaver tail pastry. He took it, posed for some pictures, then climbed back into his limousine.


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