TAMPA– Florida and its 29 electoral votes are so critical both to Mitt Romney and Barack Obama that it’s difficult in this final week of the campaign for Floridians to leave the house without tripping over one or the other or both of them.
Romney was in Tampa yesterday morning before going on to Miami then Jacksonville for campaign stops. Obama was in New Jersey yesterday playing a president on TV. But he was in Tampa last Thursday at one of my long-time favorite places.
Because of the knee-buckling deliciousness of its calorie-clogged products, the Krispy Kreme doughnut emporium on Kennedy Blvd. is one of the city’s oldest businesses. It’s been selling feel-good food at the same address since Ike was dozing in the White House. (Well, same place anyway. The address was changed in 1964 from Grand Central Ave. to Kennedy Blvd. to honor the assassinated president who had honored Tampa with a visit just four days before going to Dallas. It was a favorite stop for me and my colleagues after a long Saturday of sacking groceries in the late fifties. Two active 17-year-old boys with their incontinent metabolisms can go through a dozen glazed — priced at 65 cents back then — faster and with less ceremony than Sherman went through Georgia.)
Krispy Kreme employees were surprised Thursday when along with the morning sunrise the Secret Service paid a visit there followed shortly by our rookie president. Obama schmoozed with the employees and bought doughnuts for the few early morning customers. (I’ve always thought I would never be susceptible to a bribe. But a Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut is a truly wonderful thing, and I don’t care what Michelle Obama says.) He even bought a dozen for the accompanying scorpions of the press.
Before finally making it to the site of his Tampa rally, the Secret Service arranged a quick visit for Obama at a local firehouse, where Obama passed out doughnuts to the first responders and shot a few hoops with them behind the station.
OK, this is harmless stuff, and to be expected at campaign time. But it’s entertaining to imagine the unshirted hell our Barry caught from Michelle when word reached her that he was passing out doughnuts, a felony according to the food nutter’s code. But the prez had little choice in this matter. If the Secret Service guy had asked the chief of the local fire house if the president could drop in and pass out celery and carrot sticks, he probably would have been told to bugger off.