The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


McCain Bites Dog

By Juliet Eilperin
GRAND HAVEN, Mich.--Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) displayed his detailed local culinary knowledge of American towns large and small for a second straight day, visiting a Pronto Pup shack this afternoon to sample a corn dog.

The campaign issued a one-page backgrounder on the "Pronto Pup," to ensure it would not be confused with a run-of-the-mill hot dog. This meat-based delicacy is "hand-dipped and fried on location," according to the briefing paper, and is "different from regular corn dogs because the batter contains a blend of different flours."

The McCain campaign was more cautious in describing whether the Pronto Pup company, which dates back to 1941, created the corn dog as we now know it. The backgrounder said the company "claims to have invented the corn dog in 1941," when it began selling its products at the Minnesota State Fair. There is a lively debate on this question, as Carl and Neil Fletcher started selling "Corny Dogs" at the Texas State Fair around the same time.

McCain ate a single Pronto Pup before holding a press conference near the corn dog stand, at which point he told reporters he had consumed "an excellent Pronto hot dog, dressed with mustard, as it is said."

No one attacked McCain for uttering the word "hot dog" which is, as locals pointed out, is a verboten term in the context of a Pronto Pup discussion. (Clearly, McCain got a better briefing on Ted Drewes frozen custard Tuesday, since he knew enough to comment on how the "concrete" held up when turned upside down.)

One Pronto Pup customer, however, was decidedly nonchalant about the presumptive GOP nominee's visit. When several men and women around the hut began chatting about McCain's impending arrival, a little girl stopped eating her corn dog long enough to ask, "Who's John McCain, by the way?"

Posted at 8:26 PM ET on Jul 17, 2008
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Next time you are in Holland, Michigan... visit the new "Smitty's Pronto Pups" located within the Holland State Park area. You're in for a pleasant surprise.

Posted by: Mark T. Smith | August 1, 2008 10:31 AM

Get what John McCain had in Grand Haven, MI. A Pronto Pup! You can make them at home. Go to and order the flour mix!!! The original corn dog!

Posted by: David Sulmonetti | July 21, 2008 1:08 AM

Obama is really not yet ready for prime time. Maybe in 4 years. Not ready to be POTUS since he is a Freshman senator.

Posted by: phil9 | July 19, 2008 9:08 AM

Re: Christina West

Senator Obama does eat an apple for sure!

Posted by: premier | July 19, 2008 6:55 AM

Another failure on the part of Barack Obama.

While John McCain's campaign releases a full-page press release demonstrating detailed, nuanced understanding of the issues that matter most to voters regarding Pronto Pup corn dogs, their history, batter composition, cultural impact, and preferred condiment application policies, where was Barack Obama? Preparing to travel abroad to meet with world leaders in a long list of countries in the Middle East and Europe.

Has Barack Obama consumed so much as ONE corn dog for reporters this year? Has he convened any hearings on the Pronto Pup issue? Does he even KNOW what kinds of flour are used in the batter, or that mustard is a traditional condiment for Pronto Pups?

Barack Obama wasn't there to consume delicious processed meat by-products with our next president, and he hasn't been laughing at John McCain's jokes about primate rape, Iranian genocide, or women needing to use their looks to get men to buy their meals for them. It's only a matter of time until voters wake up and see that Barack Obama doesn't share the same priorities as The American President That Americans Have Been Waiting For, John Sidney McCain III.

Posted by: Christina West | July 18, 2008 7:13 PM

Beware of websites linked in this comments section.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 18, 2008 6:47 PM

Ever notice Mccain does like one of these town hall meeting every other day, they are his meat and potatoes. They don't get much press, we all know that but you would think the Mccain people would put all of them on youtube. They don't and you know why? Because in almost every one they are just short of being completely embarrassing to Mccain, He comes off looking like an idiot, every time. He is asked questions he stumbles over, often he can't remember what he was talking about. He misspeaks and goofs up all kinds of things and it is so common it isn't even news anymore. Unless he does something so stupid like his Checklosvakia thing it isn't even news. It;s like, "Yea we all know the guy is an idiot, so what else is new". I hope someone is recording all this and can put it on a loop to show what a complete dunce this guy really is. You would need a whole day just to watch it.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 18, 2008 4:22 PM

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Posted by: cqmig0t7xs | July 18, 2008 3:00 PM

Just like Mcsame .Don't know a corn dog from a hot dog.Well that shouldn't be surprising, he doesn't know anything.The public in the little resturant were probly the same ones he has been flying around the country for his phony town hall meetings.

Posted by: tygirl | July 18, 2008 2:07 PM

Oh come on and go easy on John McCain since after his stopping for a hotdog also
shows us,that for once McCain wasn't out
pandering the Hispanic or Black vote now.

However Messiah Barack Hussein Obama is also reportedly practicing his speech in
Berlin in Spanish and practicing his skills
at walking on water as preparation for his
"Preacher Messiah Barack Hussein Obama's
World Muslim Religious Revival Tour".

Posted by: Ralphinphnx | July 18, 2008 1:46 PM

Can't even get the name of the corn dog right, let's hope he doesn't get pronto pups and Sunni's mixed up.

Posted by: JR | July 18, 2008 12:42 PM

And the polling report at says everything!
You won't believe these results!

Posted by: Brandon | July 18, 2008 12:40 PM

This is the single most important thing he's done all campaign season.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 18, 2008 12:37 PM

Needless to say, LAE is a prime candidate to join BHO's "force"

I take that as a compliment Wacko. Thanks.

Posted by: LAE | July 18, 2008 12:33 PM

'One Pronto Pup customer, however, was decidedly nonchalant about the presumptive GOP nominee's visit. When several men and women around the hut began chatting about McCain's impending arrival, a little girl stopped eating her corn dog long enough to ask, "Who's John McCain, by the way?"'

Lets hope that little girl never has to find out!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 18, 2008 12:21 PM

If he moves to China, he can have Dog everyday, and lots of Military toys to play with.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 18, 2008 12:20 PM

LAE: BHO said he wanted his own "force" that would match the U.S. military in funding and strength. It was reported by, among others, the VOA and the Chicago Tribune. And, you can watch a BHO-supplied Youtube of him saying it:

Needless to say, LAE is a prime candidate to join BHO's "force".

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | July 18, 2008 12:12 PM

Yes, a FRIED Pronto Pup is exactly the kind of food a presidential candidate McCain's age should be eating! He obviously ignores healthful nutritional information cuz he thinks he's "eternal".

Posted by: Maerzie | July 18, 2008 11:36 AM

do puma supporters really like mccain or are they just against obama?

see the verbal sparring going on at the link below and join the fray:

Posted by: tomabrahams | July 18, 2008 11:30 AM

Nobody is going to this website. There are so many websites out here with false information and outright lies on the candidate BHO, and with the anti BHO group trying to lure people to these scurrilous websites. My take on it is if you don't want to vote on the man then don't. The choice is very simple! But I have never witnessed so many people willing to believe outright fabrications, innuendos, and lies to not vote on a person in my 50 years. We're all adults here... and if you don't want to vote on a person for any reason, then don't. Why do you need to believe something made up? If you have to believe something contrived just not to like a person, then that ends up saying more about you than the candidate himself in the final analysis.

Posted by: LAE | July 18, 2008 11:28 AM

Did McCain make any more rape jokes there?

Posted by: Playa | July 18, 2008 11:25 AM

Hi last stop at a food joint story was not so good. A lady started asking him about his Iraq policy and Mccain pretty much ran away form her afraid of some kind of embarrassing sound bites.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 18, 2008 10:58 AM

Mccain is really getting to the bottom of the nations problems, Go Mccain.
I think they submitted this little tidbit themselves. Does he even have a press core? Because I can't imagine any journalist even filing this story who wanted to keep their job.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 18, 2008 10:56 AM

That's about right, McCain studying the history of corn dogs, and President Nitwit playing t-ball, while the real presidential contender tours Europe and the Middle East. Yep, that's about right.

Posted by: JDB | July 18, 2008 9:32 AM

Well, Maria, your opinion of Nancy Pelosi is rather subjective , I think you are a biased Republican. You don't see press releases of her wasting her time holding a press conference to critique the eating of a "Pronto Pup."Now that's effective.Corn Dog Nation is standing by for the results.

Posted by: majorteddy | July 18, 2008 9:29 AM

Apparently, Sen McCain's handlers are working overtime to stage little "ordinary American" scenes to humanize their candidate in the eyes of voters. An actual journalist might point that out and question the candidate on why he feels his image needs such humanizing.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 18, 2008 9:07 AM

So McCain ate a corn dog. Who cares? This is a waste of many hardworking American's time, some actual reporting on McCain's policy positions, history, and associations would be much more helpful for voters this Summer.

Posted by: Marc | July 18, 2008 7:45 AM

"[A] little girl stopped eating her corn dog long enough to ask, 'Who's John McCain, by the way?'"

And a little child shall lead us ...

BTW .. .the McCain campaign issued a one page press release on his lunch choice? Maybe that's because he couldn't read the teleprompter they set up behind the fryers. If the point was to make it look like John McCain knew the local haunts, maybe they should have at least pretended this was a spontaneous stop, lol!

Posted by: straight talk my a** | July 18, 2008 12:50 AM

Mccain's argument is success in Iraq shows us how we win in Afganistan, Pakistan. This argument is besides the point. It doesn't change the fact that Osama Bin Laden is still at large and Al Qaeda and Taliban has regrouped and because of the 7 year gap was able to kill 9 American soldiers this month. Did we really need a guide line from Iraq to win in Afganistan? The question is if the threat was always in Afganistan, Pakistan why were we in Iraq. Mccain is total deaf with winning a war instead of which war and why we should win. Mccain makes no sense, to argue the invasion of Iraq was the appropiate choice instead of Afganistan, Pakistan borders. It was Al Qaeda in Afganistan that killed Americans on 911 and if Mccain thinks detouring into Iraq to eliminate an Al Qaeda which didn't exist in Iraq before we invaded it, or a Iraqi tribal war is more important than capturing or killing the ones responsible for those deaths is insane. Al Qaeda and the taliban are still killing Americans because they should have been captured years ago after attacking us on U.S. soil. I don't understand Mccains Argument.

Posted by: Brad | July 17, 2008 11:58 PM

Mccain seemed alittle desperate on the stump today again reiterating His support for the Iraq war and the improvement on the ground. However, it doesn't change the fact that Mccain doesn't have a a strategy to win in Iraq or a date when the troops leave. Mccain said he would send 3 brigades of troops to Afganistan and today he went back to the talking points of Iraq and the surge succeeding. Mccain hasn't addressed how he thinks we can stay in Iraq while soldiers are dying in afganistan and border Pakistan. He also doesn't address the stress it has on our economy. Obama is looking at the border view. Obama is making foriegn policy and strateis according to the terroist that attacked us on 911 whom are still at large, our standing in the world, and our economy. Mccain is only interested in staying Iraq ignoring how the war in Iraq hasn't made us safer and is a strain on our economy. So I think Obama would be best suited for president for the 21 century

Posted by: Anna | July 17, 2008 11:42 PM

Juliet, you are fun and observing. I like that! Get us more interesting stuffs happening dog, corn, & ice cream...

Posted by: premier | July 17, 2008 11:02 PM

Great to see that McCain is making exciting press releases about the direction he plans to take America

Posted by: Dox Moxom | July 17, 2008 10:43 PM

Nancy Pelosi is the most ineffective Speaker of the House in U.S. history. She spends more time doing her makeups and dressing up than running Congress. And she's been spending millions of hard earned taxpayers' money on the jumbo jet. She's filthy rich and yet she keeps spending the people's money like water. I say, remove her as Speaker of the House She doesn't know how to do the job right.

Posted by: Maria | July 17, 2008 10:14 PM

Mccains phantom campaign marches on. If you have given money to this guy you deserve a refund. Go do something useful with your money like buying a tank of gas.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 17, 2008 10:06 PM

This waste of time BS won't get Mccain one vote. WHO THE HELL IS MANAGING THIS GUY?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 17, 2008 10:03 PM

Why is junk like this here? Who cares?

I've gotten several thousand hits to this post about an extremely odd BHO proposal and dozens of sites have written about it:

But, no one knows what he meant. Why not do some real reporting for a change as ask BHO what the heck he's getting at?

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | July 17, 2008 8:57 PM

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