2016’s Chipotle Primary: Why Presidential Candidates Are Sweating About Salsa
When it comes to presidential politics, there’s more than one kind of primary.
NASHUA, New Hampshire -- When it comes to presidential politics, there’s more than one kind of primary. There are the ones that happen in the states (such as the New Hampshire primary), the one that happens behind-the-scenes (the money primary) and the one that happens in the media (the perception primary).
Introducing the Chipotle primary.
Yes, the early weeks of the 2016 presidential race may be remembered as a moment when the candidates and potential candidates faced a barrage of questions about burritos.
It all started with Hillary Clinton’s pit stop at an Ohio branch of the Mexican fast food chain on her recent road trip to Iowa. She ordered a chicken burrito bowl with guacamole, a chicken salad and a drink. Her aide forked over $21 for meal and reportedly kept the change, leaving nothing for the tip jar.
Now, it’s officially become something candidates and potential candidates for the White House -- repeat, the White House -- have to talk about.
In Manchester, New Hampshire, where Marco Rubio was campaigning for president on Friday, the Florida senator was asked whether he tipped during his own recent visit to a Chipotle restaurant in Washington, D.C.
“I’m sure we did. We always tip,” Rubio explained to reporters. “My dad was a service sector worker."
(The Rubio campaign later clarified that an aide paid for the senator and was in a rush without cash and didn’t tip. But Rubio wasn’t aware no tip was left until the aide 'fessed up to it).
So it goes.
On Thursday night, at an event in Concord, New Hampshire, reporters pressed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the all-but-declared presidential hopeful, whether he had ever eaten there.
"Do I go there? Yeah, I go there. The one on US 1. Drive my own car, park my own car, get out of my own car,” he said. “Get Chipotle, take it home.”
Pressed even further about his tipping practices, Bush shrugged, and gave a quick nod.
But he suggested it was all a moot point: “We normally cook our own food, my own Mexican food at home. It’s pretty good.” (No tipping required).
So, presidential candidates, who’s up next in the burrito line?
ABC’s Liz Kreutz contributed reporting.