Wednesday, April 18, 2012

President Obama Eats Dog Meat As A Boy; "#ObamaDogRecipes" Lights Up Twitter

The 2012 Presidential campaign becomes a dog fight with culinary overtones...
The 2012 presidential election has literally gone to the dogs, with the Obama and Romney camps using man's best friend to make character attacks. The fight over how President Obama and potential GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney treat dogs began in January, but came to a head on Tuesday night on Twitter, when #ObamaDogRecipes became a trending topic. (Above: This photo of the President and First Dog Bo tweeted by Obama strategist David Axelrod is part of the Twitter war)

It followed the Romney camp pointing to an excerpt from President Obama's best-selling memoir, “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance," in which Mr. Obama described eating dog meat as a child in Indonesia with his stepfather Lolo Soetoro.

The Daily Caller first posted the excerpt with the headline "Obama Bites Dog" and other websites rapidly followed.

The dog fight comes on the heels of the Obama camp blasting Romney for the treatment of his own family dog, Seamus. As the Romney story goes, during a family trip in 1983, the GOP hopeful put his dog in a kennel on the roof of his car and drove from Boston to Canada. Seamus reportedly made his displeasure known by pooping everywhere. In January, David Axelrod (@DavidAxelrod) formerly a senior Presidential advisor at the White House and now a top campaign strategist, tweeted the photo at the top of this post of the President and First Dog Bo riding in a limo, with the observation: “How loving owners transport their dogs.”

On Tuesday, when The Daily Caller posted the dog meat excerpt from the President's memoir, Jim Treacher noted:

"Hey, if we’re going to talk about how presidential candidates treated dogs decades ago, let’s talk about how presidential candidates treated dogs decades ago. Can you name the author of this quote?"

In "updates," Treacher added "I know the Secret Service has a lot to deal with right now, but are they protecting Bo? From Obama, I mean" and "Obama would never put a dog on top of a car. Dries out the meat."

On Tuesday, thousands of Twitter users--egged on by's Editor in Chief Erik Erikson, a frequent commentator on CNN, who was all over the topic--and Romney strategist Eric Fehrnstrom--started tweeting jokey names for dog meat recipes the President may have enjoyed as a boy, mingling these with the name of First Dog Bo.

"Bo Mein #ObamaDogRecipes," "Escar Bo #ObamaDogRecipes" and "Gum Bo #ObamaDogRecipes" were among the better recipe names Erikson (@EWErikson) tweeted. Fehrnstrom (@EricFehrn) re-tweeted Axelrod's presidential photo, with the observation: "In hindsight, a chilling photo.” Erikson retweeted that, too. Axelrod and Fehrnstrom frequently exchange barbs on Twitter.

Obama officials and Twitter supporters blasted the Romney camp for using the Presidential tale of his childhood as a campaign tool, noting that a boy eating food given to him by his stepfather cannot be compared to possibly irresponsible dog treatment Romney engaged in as an adult. President Obama lived in Indonesia with his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, and her husband, Soetoro, as well as his stepsister from 1967 until 1971, from roughly the age of six through ten.

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt (@BenLaBolt) tweetedlate Tuesday: "What’s the next attack @EricFerhn and the RNC will surface on a 6-10 year old?”

Erikson shot back this morning: "I wake up and see the left has taken over my twitter stream to tell me the President is a 6 year old. That explains *so* much," he tweeted.

Obama for America last week launched a campaign using the First Dog as a fundraiser, hailing Bo's arrival at the White House three years ago with an anniversary card campaign that asks supporters to make a donation: "Throw Bo a Bone For His Anniversary." The Campaign has also launched Pet Lovers For Obama; the webpage features a photo of the President and Bo.

The dog meat excerpt from the President's memoir:

“With Lolo, I learned how to eat small green chill peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy),” the President wrote.

“Like many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths. He explained that a man took on the powers of whatever he ate: One day soon, he promised, he would bring home a piece of tiger meat for us to share.”

More on the Seamus story from Ann Romney...
The Seamus riding in a crate story was discussed again on Monday when Ann Romney, wife of the presidential hopeful, told ABC's Diane Sawyer that Seamus “loved” traveling in a crate on the roof of the car.

“He would see that crate and, you know, he would, like, go crazy because he was going with us on vacation. It was to me a kinder thing to bring him along than to leave him in the kennel for two weeks,” Romney said.

UPDATE, April 19:  The White House dismisses the issue.

*Photo at top by Pete Souza/White House, originally posted on the White House Flickr with the caption "Dec. 21, 2011: The President and Bo, the Obama family dog, ride in the presidential motorcade en route to PetSmart in Alexandria, Va. The President bought Bo some Christmas gifts at the pet store then walked nearby to Best Buy to purchase gifts for his daughters."