The short jaunt without reporters disregarded a longstanding tradition of the White House ensuring that reporters keep the president in sight.
Obama and chief of staff Denis McDonough left the White House at mid-afternoon. Upon learning that Obama was on the move, White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri attempted to mobilize reporters to a nearby Dunkin Donuts, apparently the shop Obama and McDonough initially planned to visit.
Instead, the two headed for Starbucks, avoiding most reporters.
Palmieri said that before leaving Obama patted her on the back and said, quote, "The bear's loose," referring to himself.