Elections

Obama buys beers for 10 Iowans, snubs Romney supporter

Neil Munro White House Correspondent

Obama: Beer for thee, but not for GOP

President Barack Obama is beating Mitt Romney on the so-called “beer test” of likeability, but the president doesn’t want to have beer with Republicans.

A revealing moment came Monday, when Obama told a tent of drinkers at the Iowa State Fair that he’d buy a round of beers for 10 people, but not for one person carrying a sign of support for Romney.

At the beer tent, the drinkers “started chanting, ‘four more beers!'” according to the pool report.

“Potus said, ‘I’ll tell you what, except for Romney sign, I’ll buy beers for ten people,'” the report added.

Obama also refused to eat pork chops until he asked for a knife and fork.

The vignettes are minor, but the 2012 race is so close that every angle counts.

In recent months, for example, Obama’s aides have said his personal likability ratings have bolstered his support among voters worried about the nation’s stalled economy, high unemployment and record deficits.

Obama is liked by 60 percent of voters, while Romney scored only 30 percent in likability, according to a USA Today-Gallup poll announced July 24.

“While that may not seem as important a consideration for voters as their perceptions of the candidates’ competence or their agreement with the candidates’ issue positions, the better-liked candidate on the eve of the election has won each of the last five elections,” said the Gallup statement.

In 2004, for example, most voters picked President George W. Bush over Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry when asked who would they prefer to share a beer with.

The president’s periodic pique has been exposed before, especially when he is under stress, for example, during the 2011 budget negotiations with the GOP. A sharp exchange with Rep. Eric Cantor, for example, prompted Obama to snap “Eric, don’t call my bluff.”

His behavior at the Iowa State Fair also bolstered his reputation for prissiness, by asking for a knife and fork to eat two pork-chops handed to him by the incoming president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

“Potus took his pork chops to the stand to eat. Then he turned around and yelled out: ‘Someone’s gotta have a knife and fork!’” according to the pool report.

Obama’s epicurean tastes have caused problems for him on the campaign trail.

In 2008, during a similar tour of Iowa, he complained about rising prices sought to prove his point by asking “Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?”

That year, he also declined to eat a Philly cheese steak while stumping for votes in Philadelphia, but instead snacked on gourmet ham that sold for $99.99 a pound. After much local jeering, he told supporters that “I’m going to get a cheesesteak the next time I come.”

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