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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?"

By Post Editor  |  July 17, 2008; 8:26 PM ET
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