Hamsters in the White House:

The Inauguration

Diddley Squat, in cage carried by Secret Service officer, accompanies Pres. and Mrs. Obama at Inaugural Parade

Newly Sworn-In, Diddley and Squit are
Carried in the Inaugural Parade

Despite the chill in the air, Diddley and Squit were warm in their cages as the Secret Service carried them down Pennsylvania avenue on Inauguration Day. Both were given litter six inches deep and their cages were equipped with little warmers for the occasion. Still, both chose to bury themselves under their bedding for the walk from the Capitol to the White House. "They're hamsters," explained the agent shown carrying Diddley. "Did you expect them to get out and wave their paws at the crowd?"

It's not that their presence wasn't noticed, of course. Many of the million-plus people who lined the streets were aware of the historic co-presidency agreement, even if the major media chose to ignore it. And all down the route you could hear the voices of young people shrieking the hamsters' names. Most were surprised that the hamsters actually were carried on the route.

Squit was there, too, of course, being a few steps behind Joe and Jill Biden.

The hamsters plan to stay only part-time in Washington, spending most of their days and nights at their home offices located at HFP headquarters in Colorado. Helping them adjust to their new schedules is a recently-recruited volunteer coordinator, MidDiv, pictured above. She is a grad student at Rodent Tech (Rodent Technical Institute or "RTI") in Reston, Virginia, who is going for her doctorate in political science. All who know her agree that she brings not only brains but beauty to the office.

And so the first hamster presidency begins under a cloud of secrecy. The hamsters will not sign bills or give press conferences or appear at most state functions. They are expected to be present for the State of the Union address in February, however. Watch it on television and see if you can spot them.

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