NEW YORK - President Barack Obama took on a daunting task on Tuesday: Shopping for clothes for his wife and daughters during a brief stop at a Gap store while raising money for Democrats in New York.
He was in New York to attend fundraisers aimed at building up campaign war chests for this year's midterm congressional elections, which he said are key to how much of his agenda he can get done in the rest of his time in office.
"I don't have time to waste... I want to squeeze every last bit of work that I can during the remainder of my term, so that looking back, I'll be able to say we left everything on the field," he said at the second of the events, which was staged to help Democratic candidates for the United States Senate.
His first stop was at a Gap store, where he sorted carefully through sweaters in search of a purchase for one of his two daughters, Sasha and Malia, before holding up a pink one.
"I'm worried the V-neck is going to slip," the President said before opting for a regular-cut neck.
Moving to the adult women's section, Obama declared wife Michelle difficult to shop for: "Maybe I should buy some socks."
He had dropped by a Midtown Manhattan branch of the clothing chain to thank Gap for its decision to raise the minimum wage to US$9 (S$11) an hour this year, and US$10 an hour next year.
He has been campaigning to persuade businesses and Congress to raise wages for workers at the bottom of the scale.
After picking a pair of sweaters and a blue workout jacket, Obama moved to the cash register, as reporters, photographers, aides, and Secret Service agents looked on.
"I think the ladies will be impressed by my style sense," he said, before admitting that his goal was to makes sure "that I didn't completely screw up".
Using a credit card to pay, Obama pretended that he did not know that he could sign his name on the credit card machine. "Oh wow. So, you can sign the machine?" he said.
As reporters took note, Obama said he was teasing: "They had these around the last time I shopped."