Is President Obama losing his ability to inspire? When it comes to inspiring the traveling White House press corps to try "loose steamed hamburger meat" sandwiches in roadside Iowa diners, the answer is yes. But take a look at this meal and ask yourself: would you eat this?
The president's diminished lunchtime standing was on display during an impromptu visit to Ross's Restaurant in Bettendorf, Iowa just past noon on Tuesday. After greeting owner Cynthia Freidhof, whom he met at a townhall meeting during the 2008 Democratic primaries, Obama offered to buy the press gaggle one of the diner's signature sandwiches: the Magic Mountain (pictured above) with "Texas toast grilled, loose steamed hamburger meat, choice of french fries or hash browns, homemade cheddar cheese, onions" or the Volcano, which is everything on the Magic Mountain "plus spicy hot chili on top." As seen in the top photo, Ross's also boasts enormous cinnamon rolls if you have room left for dessert.
Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown related those descriptions and the ensuing scene in her mercilessly detailed pool report.
[Obama] held up an enormous cinnamon roll, about six inches in diameter.
"I'm not sure I'm going to be able to eat one of these," Obama joked.
He was then given a description of the sandwiches
"Anybody who wants one, I will buy it for you," Obama said.
"Anybody in the press corps has to eat the whole thing. I already got some takers on the plane though, so we're going to order four Magic Mountains and two Volcanos."
"Any takers on the press?" Obama asked.
No one responded.
"You chickens," he said.
Ten minutes later, Brown sent out this update, with new details from press secretary Jay Carney.
The president bought three Magic Mountains for customers in the restaurant, in addition to the six for people traveling on the plane, Jay Carney reports to the pool.
Carney said he ordered a Volcano for himself.
It was "delicious," he said
"I confess I could not finish it," Carney added.
We don't know how this impacts Obama's prospects for 2012 (Nate Silver is probably figuring it out now), but we are patiently waiting for the next pool report to get healthy-eating fanatic Michelle Obama's reaction.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.