Do I want beetroot?

Forget about strippers, the greatest menace on the campaign trail is food. Birthday cakes, pizza, cheesesteak sandwiches, or pork chops — they can all stop a campaign dead in its tracks.

Remember the unlosable election of 1993? Everything was going well for John Hewson until Mike Willesee’s birthday cake question. "If I buy a birthday cake from a cake shop and GST is in place" Willesee asked, "do I pay more or less for that birthday cake?" More than 200 words later and Hewson still hadn’t managed to answer the question. It was all downhill from there.

In 2000, pizza may have cost Al Gore the presidency. According to David Remnick at the New Yorker:

Not a few people made the calculation that if Monica Lewinsky hadn’t been on pizza duty during the government shutdown of 1995 (and Clinton not so predisposed to share the snack) there might never have been a Bush Presidency at all, or a hyped case for war in Iraq, a botched occupation, a skyrocketing budget deficit, a morally and bureaucratically bungled reaction to Hurricane Katrina, and a loss of American prestige around the world. His kingdom for a slice!

The beginning of the end for Joe Lieberman may be been a pork chop. The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza explains:

It was the summer of 2002, and Lieberman was campaigning at the Iowa State Fair in advance of the 2004 presidential campaign when he came to a tent sponsored by the state’s pork producers. As a Jew who keeps kosher, Lieberman was prohibited from eating the proffered pork on a stick. As a politician stumping for votes in the Iowa presidential caucuses, passing on the pork could carry repercussions in the polls.

Nobody who wants to be president of the United States can avoid campaigning in Iowa. And nobody campaigning in Iowa can avoid the State Fair. That’s bad news for Mitt Romney who managed to drop a pork chop on the ground when he took a turn as guest cook in the Pork Tent. Not a good look for a candidate who can’t find the right message on cheesesteak.

In 2003, presidential candidate John Kerry blew his chances when he ordered the wrong kind of cheese on his Philadelphia cheesesteak sandwich. The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank reported:

If Sen. John F. Kerry’s presidential aspirations melt like a dollop of Cheez Whiz in the sun, the trouble may well be traced to an incident in South Philadelphia on Monday.

There, the Massachusetts Democrat went to Pat’s Steaks and ordered a cheesesteak — with Swiss cheese.

Everyone in Philly knows that you order a cheesesteak with Cheese Whiz… or maybe American or provolone. Kerry lost handsomely.

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16 years ago

How many men in Australia know how much it costs to buy a birthday cake?