Dating the Obama way: dinner and a show in the Big Apple

Spontaneous it was not. If you are the President, spoiling your wife – dinner and a show on Broadway – requires some organising.

Never mind the tickets and a table, the Gulfstream jet had to be readied (Air Force One was too big) as well as the helicopter to get from JFK Airport to Manhattan.

In fact, Barack Obama had been plotting the jaunt for Michelle for months. We know, because he told us. "I am taking my wife to New York City because I promised her during the campaign that I would take her to a Broadway show after it was all finished," he said in a statement.

It was issued after Republicans lambasted him for living it up hours before General Motors was due to declare bankruptcy. "Have a great Saturday evening – even if you're not jetting off somewhere at taxpayer expense," a Republican press release sniped. The cost of the outing, with aide and media in tow, was not immediately available.

Politicking aside, the date seemed to go smoothly, starting at Blue Hill, a restaurant in Greenwich Village which serves organic fare from the Hudson Valley, and ending with the best seats for August Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone, a play about black America in the 1900s.

Theatre-goers in the audience were so thrilled to get a glimpse of America's First Couple they didn't even complain when the additional security resulted in the curtain going up 45 minutes late.