Appetite for Votes: Candidates Count Calories on the Campaign Trail

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are locked in a bitter battle for the right to challenge John McCain for the keys to the White House in January.

But as the dueling Democrats crisscross the nation in a frantic search for votes and delegates, they also face another formidable foe: campaign calories.

Beer, Waffles and Votes

Clinton hasn't been afraid to consume a calorie or two in pursuit of a vote.

As the Democratic senator from New York began her long march toward the nomination, she proudly declared that she intended to "eat [her] way across the [Iowa State] Fair."

Clinton was true to her word, enjoying a Wonder Bar, pork on a stick and a variety of other treats before joining Iowa's former Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack over the barbecue.

Clinton also does her best to avoid being grilled, often defrosting her sometimes cold image by enjoying a beer or a meal with the reporters who doggedly follow her every move.

The senator frequently jaunts to the back of her campaign plane holding a beer -- occasionally Blue Moon but most often the brand is obscured by the clever employment of a Solo red cup.

But no matter the variety of hops, Clinton usually tops her brew with sliced oranges -- a tradition she picked up in the South.

On the morning her rival demanded of the press, "Why can't I just eat my waffle?" when making a campaign stop at the Glider Diner in Scranton, Pa., Clinton ordered a relatively healthy omelet.

After enjoying that, Clinton spotted a staffer noshing on a mountain of French toast -- famously called Stuffed French Toast -- which included sweet cream cheese and strawberries on four slices of stacked French toast.

Clinton placed an order for one, got two forks and ended up sharing it with a reporter who was interviewing her at the Bonnet Lane Family Restaurant in Abington, Pa.

Obama's Delicate Diet

Obama, by comparison, is a little more calorie conscious when it comes to chowing down on local grub -- usually just taking the obligatory taste.

At a stop early this month at the famous Wilbur's Chocolates in Lititz, Pa., Obama took one piece of chocolate offered to him from a jar full of local delicacies.

"Quite tasty," he responded, but the candidate turned down another piece, prompting the chocolate maker to kid him that they don't count when you are in a chocolate factory.

Stopping at the Heidelberg Family restaurant in Robesonia, Pa., before the state's primary Obama was offered a piece of pizza, but he turned that down too, implying that if he munched on one slice, he'd inevitably enjoy too many.

At another stop lat month in Greenville, Mississippi, Obama ordered a whole breakfast plate at Buck's Restaurant: scrambled eggs, wheat toast, turkey sausage and grits. But at the end of the breakfast the senator, according to the pool report, "barley made a dent" in his breakfast.

At a Louisiana restaurant in February a woman offered Obama more food, saying that he needs to "put a little more meat on his bones." It wasn't the first such comment on the trail. At a Wisconsin fish fry restaurant, patrons commented that the candidate needs to eat more. No matter, he won both states.

Obama jokes regularly on the campaign trail that he's "skinny but tough" and is known for his early morning workouts and basketball games with staffers. His normal snack on the airplane, as he flies from event to event campaigning, is fruit, pistachios and Fiji water.

When it comes to beer, Obama is just as judicious.

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