NEW YORK - President Obama made good on a campaign promise to his most important supporter Saturday night - his wife, Michelle.

The president and first lady jetted to a date in New York late Saturday afternoon, aides and media in tow.

"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," the president said in a statement an aide read to the press.

After dining a little more than two hours at Blue Hill, a West Village restaurant touted by New York magazine as a "seminal Greenmarket haven" that features food grown by chef and owner Dan Barber on his upstate farm, the president and first lady headed to the Belasco Theater to make it in time for "Joe Turner's Come and Gone."

The play by August Wilson is about black America in the early 1900s, with residents of a boardinghouse recalling their migration from the sharecropping farms of the South to the industrialized North.

Wouldn't you know it, the Republican National Committee criticized Obama for the trip to New York in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and with thousands of auto workers facing unemployment as General Motors prepared to file for bankruptcy.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs declined to say what it cost for the Obamas to eat dinner and take in a play in New York.

Asked if he would outline the costs, Gibbs said yesterday the Obamas would have preferred using a commercial airline shuttle to New York and back but that the Secret Service would not allow such unprotected travel. *