First rodent upstages first citizen in Rose Garden
IN the midst of his battle with the titans of Wall Street, US President Barack Obama was nearly upstaged by a rodent.
Mr Obama had just begun a Rose Garden statement, praising the end of a Senate standoff on his financial overhaul, when some kind of rodent (pictured below) dashed out of the bushes to his right, just outside the Oval Office.
As photographers snapped away, the furry gatecrasher scurried straight past the podium and made a beeline for another set of bushes.
It's not clear if the president could even see the streaker, but he didn't show any reaction.
Once he was safely back inside the Oval Office, a fierce debate erupted among photographers and reporters who'd witnessed the dash. Was it a rat or a mouse or a mole?
Experts joined the fray.
"I would partially rule out rat," said Russell Link, a wildlife biologist who works for the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. "That's due to the lack of a tail that is typically equal to body length."
After viewing a photograph, Mr Link commented: "My suspicion is it's a vole, commonly called a 'meadow mouse'."
And last week, as camera crews set up for an Obama statement on the Gulf oil spill, what's believed to have been the same rodent made a dash across the famous garden.