ABC News' Jon Garcia reports:
Talk about what’s good for you! While President Obama and debt negotiators argue over how keep the country from going under, apparently the word compromise is so unsavory Obama likened it to ripping off a Band-Aid and eating peas. Eating peas?
“If we think it’s hard now, imagine how these guys are going to be thinking six months from now in the middle of election season where they’re all up. It’s not going to get easier. It’s going to get harder. So we might as well do it now — pull off the Band-Aid; eat our peas. Now is the time to do it,” Obama told reporters during an update on the debt negotiations.
The line elicited laughter in the press corps. I mean, who hasn’t been on the giving or receiving end of the familiar refrain “eat your peas?”
But we figured that maybe the pea growers of America might not be so amused.
Remember what happened the last time a president took on a vegetable?
When President George H W Bush declared his disgust with broccoli in 1990 and huffed “I do not like broccoli. And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm President of the United States and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli,” US broccoli growers filled trucks with the leafy, green, stalky vegetable and rolled it up past 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. And crates of the stuff were presented to First Lady Barbara Bush, who received them with a smile on the South Lawn.
Well, so far, the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council is taking Obama’s comment in stride and they have no plans to make the same kind of statement. At least not yet.
Erica Beck, the organization’s spokesperson, said, tongue-firmly-in-cheek, "We take President Obama’s comment on the need to ‘eat our peas’ as a reference to the First Lady’s push to get all Americans to eat a more healthy diet as part of the Let’s Move campaign. Eating peas has two clear benefits: they can help close the nutritional loopholes in your diet, and preparation isn't taxing! If tasty and nutritious meals featuring peas are served more frequently in the White House and in the cafeterias of both Houses of Congress, it will contribute to a balanced diet, if not a balanced budget. Eating more lentils couldn’t hurt, either."
Beck, who admits she really, really likes peas, says the US has about 4000 growers and they grew nearly 650,000 metric tons of green and yellow peas last year. And the growers span the northern tier states of Washington, Idaho, Montana & North Dakota. Obama might take comfort in the fact that none of those states was within a 4000 vote margin in the 2008 election.
We’ve asked but so far haven’t found out if Obama actually likes peas or not.