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Ben & Jerry & Obama

By Rachel Dry
Is the way to voters' hearts through whimsically named frozen treats?

In Vermont, the smallest of the four states holding March 4 primaries, Sen. Barack Obama already had key support from the state's congressional delegation, Democrats who hold statewide offices and almost all of the state legislative leadership.

Which is in all likelihood very useful and could help him win by a large margin in the state's open primary next month, but isn't anything you can drown in chocolate syrup or serve to voters in a sugar cone. So the Ben & Jerry's vote could make all the difference. At an event in Burlington yesterday, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the Ben & Jerry's founders and former John Edwards supporters, formally announced their support for Obama.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, Vermont's senior senator, joined the ice cream entrepreneurs and played a new Obama radio ad featuring himself and Leahy's wife Marcelle that has begun airing across the state. As part of the event, Ben & Jerry and Leahy rode in customized Honda Elements they dubbed "ObamaMobiles," to American Flatbread, a Vermont-based "artisan pizza" company. No word on whether, among all discussion of Obama's commitment to affordable health care and getting children the "education they deserve," anyone in the party ordered American Flatbread's "Revolution" pizza. They were already handing out "Cherries for Change" ice cream, so perhaps there's a limit on symbolically freighted food.

Greenfield said yesterday that he was backing Obama over Hillary Clinton because Obama had been against the war in Iraq from "day one." That's an argument that could play particularly well in Vermont, where last year dozens of towns approved a call to investigate impeaching President Bush and Vice President Cheney for misleading the nation into the Iraq war. And this year, voters in Brattleboro can go from casting their primary ballots to considering whether the town itself should draft "indictments against President Bush and Vice President Cheney for crimes against our Constitution."

The antiwar vote factor in favor of Obama is one that Clinton's most prominent backer in the state is attempting to address. Former Vermont governor Madeline Kunin, who served in Bill Clinton's administration as the deputy secretary of education and as ambassador to her native Switzerland, wrote in an op-ed in the Rutland Herald this weekend that the war in Iraq is a "litmus test" in this campaign, but it cannot be the only test. "Both Clinton and Obama have pledged to move troops out of Iraq as carefully and quickly as possible. Both know it will not be easy, and there is no daylight between their foreign policies," Kunin wrote, adding that "Clinton has achieved something that no woman has been able to do -- she is seen as a capable commander in chief, but that achievement has come at a price."

One price for Clinton could be any chance of a win in Vermont and capturing some of its 23 delegates. Eric Davis, professor emeritus of political science at Middlebury College, said he estimates that the Vermont vote will divide 60-40 between Obama and Clinton, but that if Obama follows the same route in Vermont that he has in other small states and runs radio and TV ads, opens campaign offices and even visits the state, Obama could get close to 70 percent of the vote, which could mean at least two more delegates. Davis noted that Vermont is an open primary state, so with John McCain having all but clinched the GOP nomination, there is little incentive for voters other than those who identify as Republicans (about 30 percent of the Vermont electorate) to vote in the Republican primary. So a big turnout of independents -- and, now, ice cream fans -- on the Democratic side will help Obama in Vermont.

By Washington Post editors  |  February 19, 2008; 1:01 PM ET
 
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Posted by: zlda dvewpbhgm | April 16, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

In reference to the comments re taking money from a company. Ben and Jerry individually as endorsing Obama -- the Company did not! I think it's a fun idea and yes Baracky Road or Obama Mint Explosion would be very yummy during the summer.

Posted by: paulet | March 1, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

I was thinking more about the campaign finance issue and gift-in-kind donations from corporations like Ben & Jerry's. So I looked up the Federal Campaign Finance Guide:
http://www.campaignfinanceguide.org/guide-43.html

According to the restrictions on corporate donations, contributions (defined as anything having value) are PROHIBITED from corporations if they are seen to influence a federal election.

So how is it that Obama can allow Ben & Jerry's, Inc. to finance transportation in specially designed ObamaMobiles and give away free soft-serve to influence the primary for a federal candidate? Are reform policies void at the state primary level?

It seems to me that by accepting more than an endorsement, Obama is being unethical in light of the federal campaign reform laws.

Posted by: wp.to.shonda | February 27, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Obama's efforts to connect to the Republican Party, specifically Bush, and Dick Chaney, of the Halliburton Company, dates back to the Presidents Grandfather, Prescott Bush, and indeed Chaney was once an executive officer of Halliburton.

The American military pounds Iraq with Artillary, bombs, and the like, destroying large sections of cities, and infra-structures, then Halliburton comes in to rebuild. Halliburton and Halliburton associated companies have raked in ten's of billions.

Obama is just like the BIG HALIBURTAN. Haliburton has contracted to build detention centers in the U.S. similiar to the one in Quantanammo Bay, Cuba. Halliburton does nothing to earn the Two Dollars for each meal an American Serviceman in Iraq eats.

http://www.halliburtonwatch.org/

Halliburton was scheduled to take control of the Dubai Ports in The United Arab Emiirate. The deal was canceled when Bush was unable to affect the transfer of the American Ports.

Now we see what some might suspect as similiar financial escapading from the Democrats.

Two years ago, Iraq's Ministry of Electricity gave a $50 million contract to a start-up security company - Companion- owned by now-indicted businessman (TONY REZKO) Tony Rezko and a onetime Chicago cop, Daniel T. Frawley, to train Iraqi power-plant guards in the United States. An Iraqi leadership change left the deal in limbo. Now the company, Companion Security, is working to revive its contract.
Involved along with Antoin "Tony" Rezco, long time friend and neighbor of Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama, and former cop Daniel T. Frawley, is Aiham Alsammarae. Alsammarae was accused of financial corruption by Iraqi authorities and jailed in Iraq last year before escaping and returning here.

LIKE FATHER LIKE SON --
Obama should be vetted and disclose his connection to the criminal money generating underworld. Besides, his connections to the REZCO MAFIA types, his up-coming tax fraud charges -- Obama needs to disclose why he is a MUSLIM "PATWANG-FWEEE" and stop suppoting our intervention in IRAQ. It's time to introduce this false, fake Xerox - X box Obama and invite the self-indicting thief plagiarizing pipsqueke "GLORK" Xerox - X box to meet the Buffalo "GAZOWNT-GAZIKKA" Police Department Buffalo Creek. He is MAD!!! --

OBAM YOUR NO JFK --
"GLORK" Obama looks like Alfred E. Newman: "Tales Calculated To Drive You." He is a MUSLIM "Glork" He's MAD!!! Alfred E. Neuman is the fictional mascot of Mad. The face had drifted through American pictography for decades before being claimed by Mad editor Harvey Kurtzman after he spotted it on the bulletin board in the office of Ballantine Books editor Bernard Shir-Cliff, later a contributor to various magazines created by Kurtzman.
Obama needs to disclose why he is a MUSLIM "PATWANG-FWEEE" and stop suppoting our intervention in IRAQ. It's time to introduce this false, fake "GLORK" Xerox - X box Obama and invite the self-indicting thief plagiarizing pipsqueke Xerox - X box to meet the Buffalo "GAZOWNT-GAZIKKA" Police Department Buffalo Creek.

Posted by: jreno | February 26, 2008 2:25 AM | Report abuse

I agree with wp.to.shonda. "Cherries for Change" seems a weak, retread name for Obama.

I really like OneForAll's "Baracky Road", but Ben and Jerry: how about considering "Endorse-Mint"; "YObama!" (frozen yogurt); "Obamacadamia" (in deference to his Hawai'ian upbringing); or "Obambanana"?

With full-disclosure in deference to the overblown "plagiar-gate" kerfuffle, some of these had their genesis in a DailyKos diary earlier this week. ;-)

Posted by: ultim8em | February 21, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

First, is Obama going to claim the sales as gift-in-kind campaign contributions? And are voters okay with being bribed with kitch? I find this to be a particularly unethical move, but those aren't new to Obama. Just look how he became a Senator to begin with.

Everyone keeps harping on that Obama was not For the war... look at his record. He wasn't FOR anything -- anything, at all. Yes, he's a good speaker; however, I keep waiting for the HOW. In particular, HOW is his proposal NOT going to kill what's left of the economy.

Frankly, I'm surprised that B&J would sponsor Obama or any of the candidates. They are much better off continuing their grass roots movement independently. Now, I feel like they sold out.

As for "Cherries for Change," it's recycled Cherry Garcia, which USED to be my favorite. Jerry must be spinning in his grave.

For shame, guys... for shame.

Posted by: wp.to.shonda | February 21, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

First, is Obama going to claim the sales as gift-in-kind campaign contributions? And are voters okay with being bribed with kitch? I find this to be a particularly unethical move, but those aren't knew to Obama. Just look how he became a Senator to begin with.

Everyone keeps harping on that Obama was not For the war... look at his record. He wasn't FOR anything -- anything, at all. Yes, he's a good speaker; however, I keep waiting for the HOW. In particular, HOW is his proposal NOT going to kill what's left of the economy.

Frankly, I'm surprised that B&J would sponsor Obama or any of the candidates. They are much better off continuing their grass roots movement independently. Now, I feel like they sold out.

As for "Cherries for Change," it's recycled Cherry Garcia, which USED to be my favorite. Jerry must be spinning in his grave.

For shame, guys... for shame.

Posted by: wp.to.shonda | February 21, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Are you the Rachel Dry that was Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods in Rochester a long time ago?

Posted by: rlaf | February 19, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

How about a new ice cream in honor of Obama who, unlike Colbert, actually may become president?

Call it 'Obamarama' and use your genius to concoct the flavor, but include some cinnamon, please. It could be served up during the general election period (hopefully w/discount) to the millions of Obamamen and women who will be meeting working all over the US between now and Jan 2009 to send him to the White House.
What fun to have our own signature ice cream, even if only 'til he is President.

Posted by: Slvrgrama | February 19, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

spanishpronto is right.
I started out on Hil's side and used to cite my reasons why she was a better candidate.. Experience, Bill in the wings, blah blah. I have since moved to Obama's camp and have never looked back.

When the tension rises the Clintons have demonstrated the same negativity that Republicants show. I understand that sometimes you have to break some eggs to win... But it's looking like Obama's race to lose, and he hasn't gone negative at all. I deeply respect that approach and I hope Obama isn't sucked into the vortex of attack ads. I know people are more than capable of seeing through the smokescreen, regardless of what the mainstream News-tainment outlets try to make it into.
Now if only he can keep Michelle Obama's big mouth shut!

Posted by: coco_dtd | February 19, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Certainly that same African-American vote helped Obama take 81% of the vote in Idaho. ; )

Ever notice that all the pundits analyzing primaries/caucuses by race, gender, education, etc., never seem to bring up Idaho?

So much focus on demographics ad absurdum, when the real story here seems to be that voters are turned off by the negative tactics used by the Clinton campaign. The two things that turned me off on Clinton were her post-Iowa nonspeech (basically, "America needs a great president. Here I am. So vote for me already.") and her (and Bill's) repeated assertions that Obama had said that the Republicans (and Reagan) were the only ones with any good ideas in the last twenty years (something he demonstrably did not say and that they knew he did not really say). I, for one, am tired of politicians who will deliberately mislead (lie) to win, and whose vision and focus seems to be on getting (re)elected rather than on doing what they can to make our country better.

Most Americans would rather have a leader with integrity and a positive vision of what America could be, not someone who will make misleading statements and launch desperate attacks to get the position she feels she deserves.

I was hoping for better from Clinton and her campaign, but I agree that she is deserving. This time, at least, she deserves to lose, and Obama deserves to win.


Posted by: spanishpronto | February 19, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

If Obama does get 75-80% of the vote in Vermont, it won't be because of Black voters, which make up less than 15% of the state population.

Posted by: edogan | February 19, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

He'll get 75-80% in Vermont because of the overwhelming support of Black voters!

Posted by: thebobbob | February 19, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Can we name a flavor after him? I vote for "Baracky Road".

Posted by: OneForAll | February 19, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

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