WHO would want to be a President? You can't even take your wife out to see a show without the media calculating the cost to the public purse of the evening and even working out the size of the carbon footprint caused by the use of the presidential helicopter. This was Barack and Michelle, of course.

During the election campaign, when free time was at a premium, he promised his wife that he would take her to a Broadway show and dinner in New York afterwards. And just as he is keeping another promise this week -- to speak directly to the Muslim world from the Middle East - he kept this promise last Saturday night. The Republican National Committee immediately issued a press release to say that the outing was inappropriate during a recession and heaven knows what the right-wing radio commentators have been making of it. Yesterday even the Guardian newspaper in the UK joined in with a leading article recommending the local Washington theatres just a stroll from the White House as an equally good choice as Broadway and drawing attention to the “excellent innovative work” being put on at the Arena and Studio theatres. But the play that the Obamas saw at the Belasco Theatre in New York was Joe Turner's Come Home, about the sons and daughters of newly freed slaves which they no doubt also found “excellent and innovative”.

Incidentally, Michelle looked absolutely stunning in her black cocktail dress.