President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden made a "surprise" lunch stop today at Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington, Virginia. Pool coverage showed the President ordering "Your basic cheddar cheese burger, medium well," and asking for Dijon mustard on his burger. POTUS also asked the cashier if he could "vouch for the fries."
The cashier replied that Ray's doesn't have fries, but rather has tater tots. The President, slightly dubious, requested a single order, to share with Biden. The Vice President ordered "a swiss cheese burger, jalapeno peppers" also done medium well, and asked the cashier who, exactly, was in charge of putting ketchup on the burger. The burgers at Ray's are $6.95 each, and POTUS and VPOTUS each paid cash, separately, then stood in line and waited...like everyone else. They also ordered burgers to go.
POTUS and VPOTUS were then filmed at a table, where POTUS requested spicy mustard. Cut to crowd shots outdoors, and POTUS getting into The Beast. The story was less than two minutes long, but was popped into the 15-minute-rotation network feed on CNN, alongside a story about Israeli President Shimon Peres, the kidnapped California three-year-old, etc. CNN was in charge of video today for the pool, luckily for them, since the President was stepping out.
CNN then happily amped up their Obama Foodie Coverage even more this afternoon, following a morning of food-centric Obama coverage that included the First Couple's Date Night Dinner, and an interview with DC chef Michel Richard. (Above: The President ponders the non-French fries)
Late in the afternoon, Wolf Blitzer's The Situation Room turned into The Obama Hamburger Hour when Wolf recapped the whole Obama/Biden Hamburger Campaign with Dana Perino and Donna Brazile, two political commentators who generally parse Capitol Hill events that are unrelated to food. Perino is President Bush II's former press secretary, and Brazile is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and ran Al Gore's presidential campaign.
Blitzer questioned the pair, in all seriousness, about whether such unexpected foodie hijinks are good for the President's image, and both Brazile and Perino assured him it was just fine. Brazile said it was swell for the president to get out of the White House and mingle with "regular folks." Blitzer seemed entirely unaware of the earlier Date Night coverage that'd dominated CNN in the morning.
*Of course there's a video of the burger bash; watch it here. Over at Marlerblog, pre-eminent food poisoning attorney and future head of USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Bill Marler ponders whether or not eating an under-cooked hamburger is a security issue for the President and The Sheriff...