US President Barack Obama could be in the doghouse with his mother-in-law after suggesting Bo, the family pet, has more charisma than her.

He was quick to correct his Freudian slip in a campaign speech he made Wednesday in Davenport, Iowa.

After his wife Michelle addressed the crowd, Obama took the podium and said: ‘Let’s face it, on the charisma rankings in my household, you’ve got her (Michelle), the girls, Bo and then my mother-in-law and then me.’

While Bo the Portuguese water dog has been a very public fixture at the White House, Obama realised what he had said and was quick to say his mother-in-law Marian Robinson was actually more charismatic than the dog. He said: ‘Actually my mother in law is before Bo, obviously. ‘I love my mother-in-law, too - that’s where Michelle got her looks from.’

Mrs Robinson lives with the family in the White House after Obama became the first American president to appoint a ‘First Grandmother’ in 2008 to look after his daughters. But perhaps Bo, who is never far from the political limelight, is Obama’s favoured companion in the White House. The First Dog was a gift from Senator Edward Kennedy and his wife to Obama’s daughters Sasha, 11, and Malia, 14, who had been promised a dog by their father when he was on the presidential campaign trail.                           –DM

Bo has also been the subject of political swipes at Mitt Romney after he was confronted in January over his admission that he tied his family dog on the roof of his car during a 12-hour drive.

Obama’s aide David Axelrod then tweeted a photo of the U.S. President in the back of his armoured limousine alongside the Bo with the caption ‘How loving owners transport their dogs’.

The Obama campaign also launched a Facebook page called ‘Pet Lovers for Obama’ - featuring a magnet with Bo’s photograph saying: ‘I bark for Barack.’ The page invites supporters to submit photos of their pets in Obama 2012 gear.

In 2009 the White House even released a basketball card featuring Bo which coincided with the release of his official White House portrait.