In St. Louis, McCain Takes a Concrete Position: Chocolate
By Juliet Eilperin
ST. LOUIS -- Showing his intimate knowledge of the Show Me State's culture, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) made a pilgrimage to one of its vaunted institutions tonight: Ted Drewes Frozen Custard.
The local dessert stand, which was founded in 1929, made its reputation on its "concretes" -- cups of frozen custard that are so thick the servers flip them upside down before they hand them over to customers, just to prove that they won't slip out. McCain chose to visit the original stand on historic Route 66; a second outpost exists downtown.
Dozens of custard buyers were milling about when McCain's entourage -- several SUVs escorted by St. Louis county police cars -- pulled up in front of Ted Drewes. The presumptive GOP nominee, accompanied by former Maryland lieutenant governor Michael Steele, got a chocolate concrete. Steele, who told the staff, "Surprise me," got a strawberry concrete.
At one point McCain entered the store and went to the window to take an order. "Got it? Small chocolate chip concrete!" he barked to the staff.
"It's an institution," McCain said as he shook hands with the employees. "Pleasure to see you."
The senator then headed out to the parking lot, where he shook hands with several customers. Betsy Reznick, who was holding her 4-month old daughter in a sling, shook McCain's hand and smiled before berating him for his war policy.
"Hi, I'd like you to bring our troops home now. Quickly," Reznick, 29, told him.
"With honor and victory," McCain replied, appearing somewhat nonplussed, as he moved to shake another's hand.
"There are too many dying," she said.
Reznick explained later that she works as a communication manager for St. Louis-based National Veterans for Peace, an antiwar group, but did not stage her protest. "We happened to be walking on the street and saw all the cars," she said.
Shortly afterwards McCain got kid-gloves treatment from Tom, Cathy and Sam Scott, who posed for a picture with him. Cathy Scott asked her 2-year old son Sam, "Can you say, 'Hi Mr. McCain?' "
"Hi, Mr. McCain," the boy dutifully repeated.
July 15, 2008; 10:30 PM ET
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