Obama Serves D.C. Jersey’s Leftovers

Posted February 11, 2008 at 6:43pm

Pumped up for today’s Potomac primary, supporters of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) over the weekend tried to lure potential voters who were passing by the newly opened D.C. campaign headquarters near Eastern Market with “Obama” yard signs and posters.

Something, though, was amiss. Quite in contrast to Obama’s message of a fresh direction and a new attitude, the signage itself looked a little … pre-used. The bottom of the “Obama for President” posters and yard signs bore jagged edges, as if they had been manually cut, and they were all missing the omnipresent “Graphic Communications International Union” stamp, which is a must-have stamp of approval for Democratic candidates certifying that their campaign paraphernalia was made by a union print shop.

[IMGCAP(1)]Alerted to the lack of the union stamp, HOH put on her best Sherlock Holmes hat.

Could it be that Obama dared to get his signage made by non-union workers? Not so, says his spokesman Bill Burton, who told HOH that the signs were recycled from a New Jersey event.

Campaign workers simply trimmed off the bottoms of the signs, which bore the date of New Jersey’s primary.

“In cutting off the suggestion to ‘Vote on Feb. 5,’ the union label went out with the bath water,” Burton said. “Not having a huge personal fortune to dip into, our campaign has to pinch every penny that it can.”

No word yet on how the union printers feel about Obama’s clipping their stamp from the posters since the GCIU didn’t return HOH’s calls. But in using New Jersey’s leftovers, the campaign may be hoping that the second time’s a charm. Obama’s opponent, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), won the Garden State’s Democratic primary last week.

Squirrel a la Huckabee. Sophisticated diners might have been a tad grossed out by the admission (or was it a boast?) by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee that as a college student, he dined on fried squirrel prepared in a popcorn maker.

Huckabee told Tim Russert this Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that shooting squirrels and frying them up in a dorm popcorn popper was “a college thing.”

Though it’s a safe bet that most Washingtonians haven’t indulged in the dish, fried squirrel — and Huckabee’s unconventional cooking method — isn’t unheard of.

“Bayou Bill” Scifres, an author of outdoors books and a former columnist for The Indianapolis Star, says he can relate to the presidential hopeful’s culinary experiment: He and friends used to fry rabbit in their popcorn makers in the 1950s.

“Boy, they were really good,” he said. “It is real fun.”

Scifres said he and his friends would roll the freshly shot game in flour and dip it in Crisco to keep the meat from burning.

“The top [of the popcorn skillet] had one of those cranks on it, and when you put the [meat] in, you would turn the crank to keep it from burning … like a rotating disc,” he explained.

Charles Clark, an employee at Jerry’s Bait and Tackle in Milford, Mass., who has fried squirrel in electric woks, but not a popcorn popper, says squirrel meat has a subtle flavor. “Does it have like a weird taste or anything? No, it’s a meat taste,” he said. “It’s kind of on the mild side.”

But at least one manufacturer of popcorn poppers warns that frying squirrel isn’t exactly the recommended use for such devices. Wendy Sandberg, the vice president of Crown Jewel Gourmet Popcorn, said her company’s popcorn maker is recommended for cooking corn kernels and probably couldn’t be trusted to cook a squirrel thoroughly.

“I don’t think the stirring mechanism is strong enough to do that,” Sandberg said. “Kernels are much lighter than meat would be.”

Still, the Crown Jewel model does have a 6-quart pot that can hold 6 ounces of kernels — which means a small squirrel would fit nicely, Sandberg admits.

True-Red Valentine. What to get your politically preoccupied GOP sweetie this Valentine’s Day? Whitman’s samplers and bottles of White Shoulders are for non-election years, silly. For Valentine’s Day 2008, may HOH suggest one of the e-cards the Republican National Committee is offering?

In the half-dozen cards available on the RNC’s Web site, romantic (and vehemently anti-Democratic) sentiments accompany photos of Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.). A sampling: Next to a smiling Obama is the caption “Three years in the U.S. Senate qualifies me to wish you happy Valentine’s Day.” Next to Clinton is the verse “Roses are red, violets are blue; I’ll raise your taxes and there’s nothing you can do.”

And if your Valentine is blue, not red, the Democratic National Committee has what you’re looking for. They’ll be posting their own romantic (and GOP-bashing) missives on Valentine’s Day, a spokeswoman says.

“The thought of John McCain and a third Bush term is more like a Halloween nightmare than Valentine’s Day,” DNC spokeswoman Stacie Paxton says.

And you thought Hallmark had the lock on exploiting such a sweet holiday.

Leah Carliner and Torey Van Oot contributed to this report.

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