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Obama goes Christmas shopping at Best Buy

Updated 2:01 p.m. Eastern Time

President Obama made a surprise visit to Best Buy and PetSmart Wednesday, picking up a rubber chew toy for his dog and Christmas gifts for his daughters.

The shopping trip in northern Virginia opened with the PetSmart stop, where Mr. Obama picked out a rubber chew toy that cost $24.99 and another item. Mr. Obama's dog, Bo, was along for the ride, and he played with another dog at the store while Mr. Obama shook hands with shoppers.

Mr. Obama kept the tab to just over $40. The White House has been running a "What Does $40 Mean to You?" campaign designed to spotlight the money the average family will lose per paycheck if the payroll tax cut is not extended when it expires in less than two weeks.

After the PetSmart stop Mr. Obama moved on to Best Buy, where he was Christmas shopping for his daughters. He purchased the video game "Just Dance 3" for the Nintendo Wii, a dancing game that, according to the product description, "kick-starts the party with over 45 tracks from multiple genres and popular artists including today's hottest hits."

The game allows four players to dance together at the same time, opening up the possibility of a dance party featuring the president, first lady and their two daughters. While in Best Buy, Mr. Obama quipped to reporters that they'd never get a picture of him playing the game.

Mr. Obama did not respond when asked if he would deliver the gifts personally - his family is on vacation in Hawaii, and the president has delayed joining them over the payroll tax fight. When he paid for the game, he joked about whether his credit card still works.

After leaving the store, Mr. Obama stopped for lunch at a nearby pizzeria.

Mr. Obama and Democrats are pressuringHouse Republicans to accept a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut passed overwhelmingly by the Senate. The House GOP is digging in its heels, refusing to pass that bill and calling on senators to return to Washington to work out a compromise with their proposal, which would extend the tax cut for a year.

If they payroll tax cut is not extended by the end of the month, about 160 million Americans would see their payroll tax revert to 6.2 percent from the 4.2 percent it was lowered to a year ago. Failure to act would also result in cuts to Medicare doctors' fees and a lapse in jobless benefits.

Mr. Obama has said he will not leave Washington until the tax cut is extended. He was originally scheduled to leave for Hawaii on Saturday, December 17. 

In September, first lady Michelle Obama was photographedshopping at Target store in Alexandria, Virginia. She was dressed in a Nike baseball cap, sunglasses and a floral-print button-down shirt and went unrecognized by many shoppers.

Below, the full seven minute-plus video of the president's shopping trip, including his discussion of "Just Dance 3" with a clerk (Mr. Obama asks if the version he is buying is "the hot one"):

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