Out: Beer Summits. In: Stiffing Your Beer Tab
“Owner complains Obama’s beer tent stop cost him $25,000,” the Des Moines Register reports today. Or to paraphrase Obama’s infamous Kinsleyesque gaffe to the San Francisco Chronicle in 2008, if somebody wants to open up a bar, he can, it’s just that it will bankrupt him if Barry drops by one night for a photo op:
On one hand, Cunningham, 39, appreciated the historical significance of Obama’s visit: His great-grandfather, Lloyd Cunningham, was secretary of the fair board from 1942 to 1962 and was on hand to greet then-President Dwight Eisenhower when Ike visited the centennial fair in 1954 with Iowa’s own President Herbert Hoover in tow. (That was the first of four visits by sitting presidents, followed by Gerald Ford in 1975, George W. Bush in 2002 and Obama on Monday.)
On the other hand, the small business owner side of Cunningham fumes that the president “put a damper on what I’m trying to do here.” His Bud Tent was shut down at the most lucrative time of day, with a popular rock cover band, Hairball, about to perform at the Susan B. Knapp Amphitheater next door with legions of thirsty fans.
“I was in a position to make a campaign donation against my will,” said Cunningham, a Republican.
Cunningham played the gracious host during the president’s visit — smiled, posed for photos, raised a beer with Obama, gifted him a “Save Water; Drink Beer” T-shirt.
A tweet from Grassley Monday evening, in the senator’s trademark abbreviated social media lingo, was one of the first signs of disgruntlement: “How does PresO justify havin secret service shut down the bud tent @ the state fair nd the owner told me he loses 50,000 n 1 nite.”
Cunningham said that the more accurate figure for what he likely lost in sales Monday night is $25,000. He appreciated that fellow fair vendor Barksdale allowed him to set up a Bud beer station near the amphitheater stage and recoup some dollars from those Hairball fans.
To be clear, Obama did fork over cash to buy his own beer as he also offered to buy a round for 10 or so fairgoers in the vicinity.
Except for, as the Washington Examiner notes, one man holding a Romney sign:
President Obama stopped by the Iowa State Fair yesterday and bought voters beer at the Bud Tent.
“Hey everyone who's over 21, you gotta buy a beer!” Obama said, according to the pool report, as he stopped by the party tent where one person was holding a Romney sign
When asked if he was buying, Obama said, “Let me see what’s in my wallet.”
As the crowd cheered “Four more beers!” the president relented.
“I’ll tell you what, except for Romney sign, I’ll buy beers for ten people,” he said.
“Because… well, I should be classy and not say ‘because the President’s a dick that way’)” Moe Lane quips. Too bad -- the fiercely oikophobic president missed a golden opportunity to try and score some easy points; a little miniature beer summit for the cameras, to coin a phrase, with a voter from across the aisle. But then all that stuff in 2004 about “there's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America” was just phony boilerplate for the rubes anyhow, as we now know.
Obama's reaction is vaguely similar to John Kerry getting the vapors over a GWB voter in his audience back in 2004. Actually though, this story sounds more like the 2012 equivalent of Kerry’s disastrous photo-op at an upstate New York Wendy’s hamburger restaurant, before he and his entourage chowed down on their real lunches -- “19 five-star lunches from the Newburgh Yacht Club for Kerry, Edwards, Affleck and co to be served back on the bus: shrimp vindaloo, grilled diver sea scallops, prosciutto, wrapped stuffed chicken, etc.,” Mark Steyn wrote in the London Telegraph back then. The title of Mark’s piece was, “Could Kerry slum it in the White House?”
His successor certainly isn’t finding it very easy to do so.