Obama’s Booze Strategy: Four More Beers!

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JIM WATSON / AFP- Getty Images

President Barack Obama gets a beer and a pork chop as he visits the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on August 13, 2012.

Dubuque, Iowa

The first sign of Barack Obama’s barley and hops strategy came Monday night at the Iowa State Fair, when a lady offered the President of the United States a fruit smoothie. “Smoothie sounds okay, but a beer sounds better,” Obama answered, over the roar of a nearby stock car race. And then he was off to the beer tent, which had been partially cleared out by the U.S. Secret Service in preparation for a presidential brew.

The crowd chanted “Four more years!” as the President approached. “Hey, everyone who’s over 21, you got to buy a beer!” Obama told them, before offering to buy 10 of them beer tickets from his own billfold. “Four more beers!” they began to chant. The President smiled, and then accepted a T-shirt from the proprietor that said, “Save Water, Drink Beer.” The president ordered a Bud Light.

Beer has a timeworn role in presidential campaigns. Back in 2008, the slow-sipping Obama found himself on the losing side of the beer-drinking battle, since Hillary Clinton knocked them back with gusto, sometimes with a shot of whiskey. The President was forced to pretend that beer didn’t matter. “Around election time, the candidates can’t do enough. They’ll promise you anything, give you a long list of proposals and even come around, with TV crews in tow, to throw back a shot and a beer,” he told crowds then, trying to undercut Clinton’s chugging advantage.

In 2012, however, Obama is determined to win the beer vote, a task made easier by the fact that his opponent, Mitt Romney, never drinks as a matter of religious principle. On his three-day trip through Iowa, beer was Obama’s ubiquitous prop, repeatedly offered up by the president and his aides as proof of his relatability—and more indirectly an attempt at reinforcing the otherness of Romney for regular folks.

(PHOTOS: The Obama Presidency in Pictures)

The president didn’t just order beer before cameras, which he did at two different stops. He traveled across the state with a bus stocked with White House-brewed beer, and even handed out a bottle to a patron at a coffee shop in Knoxville. His campaign press secretary briefed reporters on the beer consumption of senior staff at the Iowa state fair—two Bud Lights apiece. A press gaggle detailed some of the attributes of the White House brewery. And Obama talked about brews, over and again.

By the time he made it to Waterloo Tuesday night, after another stop at a Ceder Falls pub for a 7 p.m. Bud Light, the strategy bordered on self-parody. “Yesterday, I went to the State Fair and I had a pork chop and a beer. And it was good,” Obama said, by way of introduction. “Today I just had a beer. I didn’t get the pork chop.  But the beer was good, too.”

Then he told the story of the “four more beers” chant the night before. “Told him he had to register to vote, though, to get one of the beers,” he joked, provoking laughter.

The great irony of the Obama beer strategy is that there is little evidence, at least for the national media and its cameras, that the president ever finishes the beers he orders. More often than not the press is ushered away before he has a chance to swig, something that happened in both Iowa State Fair and in Cedar Falls. He tends to talk to voters without interlude for libation the entire time he is seen in the bar, the bottle safely in hand. Weeks ago in Amherst, Ohio, the traveling press watched Obama order two beers, a draft pint of Miller Lite and a bottle of Bud Light, but no one in the press at the bar saw him take more than a sip of either. How the president stopped holding the mostly full pint of Miller and picked up the bottle of Bud is a fact now lost to history.

There are, however, dozens of photographs of Obama holding beers in pubs, which is something that cannot be said for Romney. And there is much to suggest that images of the President with a Bud Light will soon be broadcast to a far wider audience. On Tuesday, the Obama campaign’s ad team lingered in the bar long after the press was ushered out, shooting footage of Obama talking to voters with a bottle in his hand.

Does Romney’s sobriety have something to do with Obama’s beer obsession? The Obama campaign certainly is not admitting to such a cynical strategy. But it is clear that all of Obama’s high-profile loitering around watering holes highlights Romney’s decision not to imbibe. On Monday, the same day that Obama declined a smoothie at the state fair, Romney held a campaign event in Miami at a non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated juice bar.

(PHOTOS: Political Pictures of the Week, Aug. 4-10)

85 comments
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resolute2012
resolute2012

Since when does swigging down a few beers with the boys make a good president?  Obama "buys" his friends.

Ramu Girdaree Jackpersad
Ramu Girdaree Jackpersad

Fools this just proves that Obama cannot be of the Islamic Faith, because pork is Haram to Muslims, and so is beer.

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

On the go all day. Dinner with the boss. Back just in time for TDS and Colbert. Log into Swampland...for this?!?

Right, Michael: Obama was playing 11-dimensional chess starting 4 years ago when he did shots with Hillary and had a beer with the cop and the professor. 

Time for a new tin-foil hat, Scherer. The one you're wearing is a weeee bit too tight....

EDIT: Then there's this gem:

...and more indirectly an attempt at reinforcing the otherness of Romney for regular folks.
Yup. The rish, white guy is the "other".

Is this entire post a piece of snark-art, like your debate recaps, Michael? Those are rather funny. This, not so much...

jcinjapan
jcinjapan

I see that in my 2. 5 month absence douchery has continued unabated. Cheers all. Will drop in again after the election and my November visit to Versailles on the Potomac.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

We're having a clearance sale on douchery, JC!  Don't stray too far!  ; )

paulejb
paulejb

"Unconfirmed reports: Family Research Council shooter carried Chick-fil-A bag, posed as intern; Update: NBC confirming"

http://twitchy.com/2012/08/15/... 

The left wing hate is metastasizing.

cin
cin

...

Sometimes, paul, you leave me speechless. This is nonsensical, even for you.

paulejb
paulejb

cin,

Didn't you receive the shunning memo?

ERenger
ERenger

The right wing hate is masturbating. 

paulejb
paulejb

Be careful what you wish for, boys.

"The Democrats’ Growing Medicare Dilemma"

http://www.nationalreview.com/... 

Hoist on their own petard!

cin
cin

 Is Obama exploding the deficit like a maniac, or is he cutting Medicare to the bone? Is he creating a culture of dependence, or is he leading the old people to death camps? Is he a wild spender, or a wild slasher of benefit programs?

Good god, paul, don't leave me hanging. Which is he?!

paulejb
paulejb

cin,

All of the above.

ERenger
ERenger

Rainman was a petard. 

paulejb
paulejb

"Does Romney’s sobriety have something to do with Obama’s beer obsession."

---------------------------------------------------

You would drink too if you saw your chances of re-election circling the bowl.

paulejb
paulejb

Surprised that Bam wasn't handing out EBT cards to all comers.

cin
cin

 Wait wait wait! What, you're claiming he's turning the country into a welfare state! But yet just a minute ago I swear you posted that he was slashing Medicare and the old people were going to be led to pasture (or maybe the glue factory).

Which is it, paul?

ERenger
ERenger

Nice thing to say about Nascar fans. 

allthingsinaname
allthingsinaname

Oh come on MS Obama having beer is just to make him like the public he trying to reach.

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

Michael has been following Obama in the same way as Alex has been following Romney. Note the differences in their posts today.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©
ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

 It's all a lot of nothing.

Our media has no interest in telling us what's really going on.

For instance, is Britain raiding Ecuador's embassy tonight?

I wonder if the Brits will shout "Death to the Shah!" on their way in?

~

rokinsteve
rokinsteve

I guess Paulie didn't like being shunned yesterday so he's pouting.  I don't miss him and the dialogue is great!  It's Thursday everyday. 

paulejb
paulejb

rokinsteve,

"Didn't like being shunned..."

--------------------------------------------

Au contraire, mon petit écureuil. It was delightful. Keep it up!

iansamry
iansamry

To be fair to Barry, I can't finish a Miller or Budwieser either, they taste like carbonated urine.

r_m_reddicks
r_m_reddicks

They make a very good Budwieser in the Czech Republic.  The cans are thin but the beer is more than decent.  (In fact, quite decent.)  Miller?  Well, it's cheap here.  And I'm all but broke.

If U.S. beer drinkers didn't have the backing of  a defense budget larger than most of the countries in the world combined the rest of the world would laugh at what we buy and swill.

cin
cin

 We have good beer, and it's not even hard to find. Microbreweries are coming out with some amazing stuff. And we have Sam Adams--I heart, liver, and lungs Sam Adams.

A lot of USAns are too wussy to try anything that doesn't look like lemonade, but hey, that just leaves more for me.

Four more beers!

r_m_reddicks
r_m_reddicks

And that was from a guy who, most likely, has never been in a 7-eleven.  Unless he wanted to use the hose to wash off his dog.

r_m_reddicks
r_m_reddicks

"We(a)kly Standard"?  Ah, you old Trotskyite!

r_m_reddicks
r_m_reddicks

Abita, down in Louisiana makes some decent beers.  Pleasant folks, also.

r_m_reddicks
r_m_reddicks

Miller Light?  Bud Light?  No wonder a wee sip is enough.  No wonder this country is in the shape it's in.

But maybe if Romney got an extra wife he and we could get all enthused.  Especially if he'd go home and wash the dishes. (I'd prefer if he didn't do any more of that procreating stuff.)

bob3905
bob3905

I remember a lot of my Republican buddies explaining their choice of W as President sayin' "He's a guy I'd like to belly up to the bar with". Well, George woulda had to have ordered an O'Doul's seeing his sobriety and all but I got their point. I wonder what those same guys are sayin' 'bout ole Mitt? Can Mitt even go in a bar? The body is a temple, right Mitt? One would not desecrate a temple! HA!

cin
cin

 I'm pretty sure Mitt would be the life of the party if he'd start drinking. All those Mormon inhibitions down the drain. Imagine him gyrating to an Elvis song. Or trying to pick up chicks. "Hey, honey, want to see my magic underwear?"

rokinsteve
rokinsteve

Romney/Ryan lyin' tour attacks every word from the Pres. Obama compaign.  That's all they have is "word police".  Ask them a question and they run away or change the subject.  And that word is "weak". 

bob3905
bob3905

I think this is gonna be a fun election. Lotsa mud slingin'! Yee haa!