Republican Scott Van Duzer is now part of President's stump speech, and being used to promote the last 'Dinner with Barack' contest...
UPDATE: More POTUS love for the pizzaman
The Obama campaign on Tuesday night sent an e-mail to supporters wooing entries for the sixth Dinner with Barack contest. It included the photo above of pizza-shop owner/powerlifter Scott Van Duzer hoisting President Obama aloft, when the Eater in Chief made a surprise visit to his Florida restaurant on Sept 9.
"People who meet the President sometimes do crazy things--like this...And you could be one of the next people to meet him," read the email. "Imagine sitting down to DINNER with him!"
Van Duzer, 46, is a registered Republican who voted for Mr. Obama in 2008. On Tuesday night, he also took a star turn in the President's interview with David Letterman, and then again in Mr. Obama's fundraising speech at a lavish New York event hosted by superstar Beyoncé and her rap mogul husband Jay-Z.
"I was just on Letterman before I came here, and some of you saw that he showed that picture of that pizza owner who picked me up--and lifted me up and kind of straightened out my back," the President told the fashionable 40/40 Club crowd, who'd paid $40,000 each to attend.
"Well, this guy, he started his own pizza company and is a Republican, but is somebody who thought that I shared with him a passion for doing the right thing."
Van Duzer, who is 6'3 and weighs 260 pounds, says he can bench press 350 pounds. He made a whirlwind New York media tour of his own after his enthusiastic Presidential bear hug at Big Apple Pizza & Pasta Italian Restaurant in Fort Pierce got international headlines. Van Duzer also suffered through a series of excoriating Yelp posts following President Obama's visit, and locals briefly threatened a boycott. But that was rapidly replaced by support from across the US, with people phoning in pizza orders to be delivered to local firefighters and police.
"If I eat your pizza will I look like that?" President Obama asked Van Duzer as he admired his beefy arms.
Getting 'crazy' at Dinner with Barack?
Still, it's unclear what kind of 'crazy' behavior a la Van Duzer the Obama campaign would find acceptable at a Presidential sit-down dinner. Will the President's three 'Dinner with Barack' winners be encouraged to fling French fries, or paint the 2012 logo on the tablecloth with wine? Each winner will be allowed to bring a guest, so the crazy factor could be high. Van Duzer had Secret Service permission before he grabbed the President.
The dinner contest, which closes on Sept. 25, is the last one being offered by the campaign, both the President and First Lady Michelle Obama told supporters via email.
"Not only is this Barack's last campaign, but it's also the end of a long tradition," Mrs. Obama wrote on Tuesday. "It'll be fun, but probably a little bittersweet, too."
And apparently craaaaaaaazzzzzzy!
CLICK HERE for all posts about the previous dinner contests.
The Van Duzer dinner email was signed "Obama for America" rather than with an aide's name. The subject heading read "Final Dinner with Barack--You're invited."
People who meet the President sometimes do crazy things -- like this...
And you could be one of the next people to meet him.
Imagine sitting down to DINNER with him!
Your support is what makes this campaign work. Take the next step so you can take your seat at the table.
Donate $5 or whatever you can to be automatically entered for that chance:
Obama for America
P.S. -- If that didn't sound good enough, the campaign will even fly you out -- with a friend! Enter now.
*Photos by Obama for America