The President enjoys a campaign trail treat and assures patrons that picking up their tabs doesn't violate election laws...
While stumping for reelection in Durham, New Hampshire on Monday afternoon, President Obama made a surprise stop at 3:45 PM at the Dairy Bar at the University of New Hampshire for an eat & greet with locals. He ordered a hot fudge sundae made with Graham Central Station ice cream ("very good!") and repeatedly offered to foot the tab for thrilled patrons. His jacket off and his shirtsleeves rolled up, the President posed for photos and shook plenty of hands in the converted train station located on the UNH campus. It's a popular hotspot for students.
"I only have these once in a while," President Obama said, sundae in hand, when asked how he stays slim while enjoying campaign trail indulgences.
"It's not a regular practice to have a hot fudge sundae."
The President's ice cream flavor was suggested by employees. Made by Gifford's Ice Cream in Maine, it's a Graham Cracker flavor, swirled with chunks of cookie and chocolate. The President ordered a regular size, but employees handed over a large.
The President assured the surprised patrons that buying them sweets is within the bounds of election law.
"My treat, now,” the President said. “This is legal. I could not do this in front of a polling place, buy you ice cream. But I can do it here."
As the President posed for photos with the locals, he offered the services of chief White House photographer Pete Souza, assuring one table of customers that Souza "was pretty good." He offered birthday greetings to one patron.
"Happy birthday!" he said. "Can I buy you some ice cream?"
"I didn't think I'd get to see you!" one woman near the entrance exclaimed.
"I didn't think I'd get to see you either," the President joked.
He also recorded a birthday message on a customer's iPhone, for a child who was not at the Dairy Bar.
"Brianna, happy birthday!" the President said into the phone held aloft by the thrilled mom, Lee MacQuarrie (above).
Customer Laurie Meyer of Dublin, N.H., was the woman who queried the President about his sweet indulgences; a man next to her remarked that Mr. Obama stays slim due to the political climate: "It's the stress," he observed.
Before leaving, the President gave his sundae the seal of approval: "Very good!”
The President peeled off twenties from a roll of bills as he stood at the check-out counter; he'd also treated Press Secretary Jay Carney to a banana split.
"Let's get Carney a split. Have you guys ever seen Carney eat? It's unbelievable," the President said.
Carney later tweeted on his official @PressSec account "I have no idea know what POTUS was trying to imply here. Although, I must say the banana split was superb..." (sic).
The President won New Hampshire by eight percentage points during the 2008 race. Before his ice cream stop, he spoke to about 1,200 supporters in the gym at Durham's Oyster River High School; another 750 listened in an overflow room, according to the White House.
The New Hampshire stop was the first on a two-day, four-state junket that includes Massachusetts, Georgia, and Florida. The President will stay overnight in Boston on Monday. Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco, and Senior Advisers Valerie Jarrett and David Plouffe are also traveling with the President.
Update, 8:30 PM: @BarackObama tweeted an Instagram of the President and some fans, writing "Ice cream break: President Obama chats with voters in Durham, New Hampshire this afternoon." The photo:
Info: The UNH Dairy Bar is at 4 Depot Road, Durham, New Hampshire, 03824. Phone: 603-862-1006.