President Barack Obama will shake your hand, kiss your babies, visit your diner, tour your school, headline your ice cream social, drop by your bar. If federal red tape has you snagged, he'll try to help slice through it. But he draws the line at arm-wrestling you for your vote.
Obama visited Ziggy's Pub and Restaurant in Amherst, Ohio, on Thursday, one of several stops left off his public schedule, and The New York Times reporter Mark Landler, representing his colleagues as the print "pool reporter," caught the scene.
The president got a round of applause and a barrage of camera flashes as he entered Ziggy's, popular night-spot where the WiFi code is "DRINKBEER." One of the large TV screens was showing a CNN report about Mitt Romney's amazing $100 million fundraising haul in June.
Enter patron Jeff Hawks. Hawks pointed to one of the TVs on the wall and told Obama: "You're in a building that has Fox News on."
Obama, whose White House has Fox News on nearly continuously, suggested that Hawks could ask to change the channel. "The customer is always right," the president said.
"I'll arms-wrestle you for your vote," Haws told Obama. (The pool report was mum on the relative sizes of the two men). The president demurred. "No," he said. "I'll play basketball for your vote." Annnnd...scene. (The president's busy campaign schedule pulled him away). The president also spoke with Art Davis, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who represents a group that he been trying to get a meeting with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki in a bid to break a logjam over disability claims.
The president summoned his trip director, Marvin Nicholson, who promised to connect Davis with the right people and gave the veteran a Challenge coin. Davis, a self-described "concerned" Obama supporter, seemed moved but not completely won over.
"He's getting there," Davis said.