During "surprise visit," President orders "classic" mint chocolate chip, and treats his aides, too...
On the campaign trail in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Tuesday afternoon, President Obama made an "unscheduled" stop for frozen confections at Deb's Ice Cream & Deli, located downtown on Third Street. The city was the President's first Iowa stump stop during the 2008 race, and today was his tenth visit to Iowa, a crucial swing state, in this election cycle. His stop shortly after 2:30 PM CDT for a mint chocolate chip waffle cone followed a campaign speech at nearby Kirkwood Community College. (Above: The President enjoys his cone)
"I think I'll go with the classic mint chocolate chip," the President said as he stood at the counter to order, faced with more than twenty flavors of hand-dipped cones. He ate the treat with a spoon.
Wearing a tie with his shirtsleeves rolled up and dark trousers, the President also placed orders for his aides, and paid $18.94 in cash, according to pool. He also treated a little girl he addressed as "sweetie" to her ice cream, though it turned out her sugary delight had already been paid for. The President ordered Press Secretary Jay Carney a root beer float, while Senior Advisor David Plouffe got blueberry ice cream. Aide Marvin Nicholson got chocolate and vanilla on a waffle cone. Campaign Press Secretary Jen Psaki ordered Milky Way ice cream. (Above: Holding his ice cream, the President greets employees at the counter)
Owner Deb Allick opened her eatery in 1987, and it was closed for months after the city flooded in 2008, according to the White House. The President, who worked in a Baskin Robbins ice cream store as a teenager in Hawaii, last week ate his way across Ohio and Pennsylvania, which included an ice cream social in Sandusky, Ohio on July 5th. On June 25th while on the campaign trail, he stopped at the UNH Dairy Barn in Durham, New Hampshire, for a hot fudge sundae. Carney got a banana split. (Above: the President looks at a cone at the counter)
During his quick eat n' greet, the President moved around Deb's, shaking hands with patrons and employees and posing for photos.
After leaving Deb's, the President did a quick ropeline outside, greeting supporters in the street, cone in hand. The weather in Cedar Rapids was better than at home in Washington, DC, with the temperature hovering at a "cool" 83 degrees. (Above: The President waves outside Deb's)
The President's motorcade was rolling back to Eastern Iowa Airport at about 2:57 PM CDT. Though the ice cream stop was not noted on the President's official schedule for the day, the White House was fully prepared to offer background on Deb's:
"Owner Deb ran the cash register at her father’s deli, Emil’s, since she was a young child. Following in her family footsteps, Deb opened the ice cream store and deli in 1987. During the 2008 flood in Iowa, water came up to the top of the tables, but left the salt and pepper shakers unmoved. She closed on June 10, 2008 and reopened on October 9, 2008. She serves breakfast and lunch specials and does event catering," said the White House.
Before his speech on middle class tax cuts at Kirkwood, President Obama met privately with a Cedar Rapids couple at their home, Jason McLaughlin and his wife Ali. Mr. McLaughlin is the principal at a local school, and introduced the President before his remarks. Their four-year-old son Cooper attended the Presidential meeting (above, the coffee klatch).
The President was scheduled to return to the White House at 6:15 PM local time.
Info: Deb's is located at 215 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, IA, 52401. Phone: (319) 365-1010.