Barbra Streisand’s Near Secret Service Run-In at Obama’s White House

Pete Souza, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

( – In her recently published memoir, “My Name is Barbra,” legendary performer Barbra Streisand recalls an amusing incident involving her beloved dog that almost led to a mishap at the White House. During a prestigious event where she was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2015, Streisand’s little companion, Sammie, inadvertently became the center of a security concern. Unaware of the strict protocols, Streisand had brought Sammie along in a carrier bag, as the quiet and well-mannered Coton de Tulear was accustomed to accompanying her everywhere—even to the most cultured of venues like ballets and theaters.

The situation unfolded when a Secret Service agent alerted the president to the presence of Streisand’s dog. This was uncharted territory since pets typically did not accompany their owners to such solemn occasions at the White House. The award-winning artist, then 81, was blissfully unaware of the commotion her four-legged friend was causing. She learned of the mini-crisis that had almost landed her in trouble only through her publicist, Ken Sunshine.

Reflecting on the incident, Streisand expressed her surprise and amusement, noting that she would have remained oblivious to the faux pas without Sunshine’s revelation, as the White House staff had handled the situation with utmost politeness. In a charming resolution to the episode, President Obama exemplified his renowned composure and wit by telling the Secret Service, in essence, that Streisand’s wishes were to be accommodated: “Whatever Barbra wants, Barbra gets.” This decision displayed not only the president’s grace under pressure but also a lighthearted moment of ‘doggie diplomacy’ at one of the most secure buildings in the world. Sammie, who passed away in 2017, left a lasting impression on the White House that day, a story that Streisand fondly recollects in her book.

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