On Monday evening, President Obama filed a new entry in the annals of surreal campaign moments. At a rally for Hillary Clinton and down-ticket Democrats in Columbus, Ohio, the president, normally enough, kicked off his speech with a promise that the crowd would be home in time to watch the Cleveland Indians, who (still) stand one win away from winning their first World Series title since 1948. And then, in spite of his wife’s health initiative, Obama took the extraordinary step of reminding the boisterous crowd that Taco Bell will be handing out free tacos as part of a World Series-themed giveaway.
“And because I’ve been watching the World Series,” Obama said, “I am aware that because [Cleveland Indians shortstop] Francisco Lindor stole second base in Game 1, everybody in America gets a free taco at Taco Bell tomorrow.” The crowd roared with delight and Obama, sensing the moment, pointed down from the podium to single out a guy in the crowd who seemed particularly enthusiastic, saying “I’ve never seen anybody so excited about a free taco.”
Of course, he had a broader point to make. “If you can the find the time to get a free taco,” he went on, “then you can find the time to go vote!” In making his pitch for early voting in Ohio, Obama even suggested uniting the act of voting with getting a free taco: “It’s like a combo meal. You get something good for your soul and then you get something good for your appetite.” Needless to say, both Major League Baseball and Taco Bell appreciated the plug.