Sunday, January 11, 2009

Obama in touch with the Public

It's well known that Obama is fighting to keep his Blackberry, as he sees it as important for him to keep in touch with average Americans, and he continues to make efforts to openly interact with the public, whether it's getting ideas and questions via the transition website or just dropping by a local Washington landmark, Ben's Chili Bowl.

That would be a half-smoke, actually, and an iced tea, and the institution was a longtime U Street establishment, Ben’s Chili Bowl, where a visit from the Obama family has been anticipated.

Well, Mr. Obama didn’t bring the whole family this time, but he was accompanied to the diner, which has been in business 50 years, by Mayor Adrian Fenty of Washington, an ally of his.

In a departure from his healthy diet, Mr. Obama ordered a classic Ben’s half-smoke — a pork and beef sausage on a steamed hot dog bun, topped with mustard, onions and chili sauce — and a sweetened iced tea. Mr. Fenty chose the turkey dog, cheese fries and bottled water. The bill came to $19.15 with taxes, according to prices from Ben’s menu.

Mr. Obama looked over at Mr. Fenty’s lunch and asked the server, Jermaine Jefferson, “Where’s my cheese?”

Immediately after the election, Ben’s co-owner, Nizam Ali, told The Times that he had invited the Obamas to drop in and eat for free, an offer made to help the new First Family feel at home in Washington. The President-elect took up the offer to drop in for a bite, but declined the offer to eat on the house; he paid for his and the mayor’s food with a $20 bill and told the cashier to keep the change.

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