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Former First Dog Barney was an early web video icon

February 4, 2013 by NCC Staff


When news broke this weekend that former President George W. Bush’s dog Barney had passed away, there was a bipartisan outpouring in Washington for one of the Internet’s first video stars.


Barney BushBarney died from lymphoma at the age of 12 on February 1 in Texas.


Bush issued an official statement about the black Scottish terrier, who had his own fan following thanks to several high-profile videos and appearances with the First Family.


“Barney was by my side during our eight years in the White House. He never discussed politics and was always a faithful friend. Laura and I will miss our pal,” the former president said in a statement.


Related Story: Dog issues nothing new for presidential candidates


In an increasingly media-conscious age, Barney was one of the first bipartisan presidential icons to leverage video on the Internet. His first video on the White House website drew 24 million views in 2002.


The Bush administration showcased Barney in a series of “Barney Cam” holiday videos that featured the First Dog giving White House tours and appearing at other events.


In his last video in 2008, Barney welcomed Michael Phelps and other Olympians to the White House.


On the Dallas Morning News website, photographer David Woo recalled a 2009 photo shoot with Barney and the president, a few months after President Bush left office. He said Barney was cooperative as a subject.


The first Barney Cam video in 2002 was a trendsetter in many ways. It drew millions of online video views in the days before You Tube.


Related Link: Watch Barney videos


In all, Barney starred in 11 videos during his eight years in the White House.


While the Bush family has stayed out of the limelight after leaving the White House, Barney kept his following;there were more than 10,000 comments and 67,000 likes on his official Facebook tribute page.


And while Barney may have been nonpartisan when it came to politics, he wasn’t a big fan of the press. In two different incidents, the First Dog bit a Reuters reporter and an NBA spokesperson.


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