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Washington Life

Obama Gets a Half-Smoke at Ben's Chili Bowl

Don't look now but you've got a present-elect over your shoulder. Cheron Wicker and Courtney Wicker laugh and lick their fingers upon learning Obama is right behind them waiting for his lunch at Ben's Chili Bowl. (Linda Davidson / The Washington Post )

By Amy Argetsinger
For years, a sign at U Street's landmark Ben's Chili Bowl carried this message:

"Who eats free at Ben's: Bill Cosby. No one else."

During the 2008 race, they changed it: "Who eats free at Ben's: Bill Cosby. The Obama Family." And today, the president-elect finally investigated the offer.

Barack Obama arrived at the fast-food joint with D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty shortly before 1 p.m. He posed with diners and staff, then returned to the counter to collect his order: a chili half-smoke and sweet tea, plus cheese fries and water for the mayor. They dined together at a two-person table.

Asked by a member of the traveling press pool about the significance of his visit, Obama said, "It means I'm going to get a hot dog."

And as for Ben's generous offer... As promised, they didn't try to charge him. Obama handed over a $20 bill anyway for what would have been a roughly $12 meal, reports our colleague N.C. Aizenman. Did he want change, the counterman asked. "No, we're straight," said the future prez.

Read more about the Obamas in Washington at The Reliable Source»

Posted at 3:36 PM ET on Jan 10, 2009  | Category:  Washington Life
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I am simply borrowing from your side of the aisle -- unless you are claiming no Democrats has ever referred to Bush as "pResident" or "Evil" -- what's good for the goose ...

Posted by: JakeD | January 12, 2009 3:44 PM

"pResident Evil"...what a clever turn of phrase Jake...considering the lies, the torture, the optional war, it wouldn't be altogether inappropriate, except that the article was about President-Elect Obama, not Bush the Lesser (and I think, in fairness, Bush was probably just a hopeless dupe in over his head.... Cheney and Addington may have been the real 'Resident Evil' in the Bush White House), so you are confused.

Try again.

Posted by: Iconoblaster | January 12, 2009 3:42 PM

My kind of POTUS! Glad I voted for him!

Posted by: jbcarves | January 12, 2009 1:17 PM

To KalynMaine: Don't you mean a Freedom Fry?

Posted by: RobertEvansinNYC | January 12, 2009 1:16 PM

All right! A president that drinks sweet tea. Now that's my kinda guy.

Posted by: regiznawz | January 11, 2009 12:20 PM


So, does that mean 80% or all Americans wouldn't eat with GWB?

Posted by: JakeD | January 10, 2009 10:58 PM

The picture seem like everyone was surprise to see him, I know that they had to notice the secret service come in a do a quit check for security purposes. I do like that he is just a ordianary guy interacting with the American people, and the visions of change can be notice. Very nice!!

Posted by: easternstar25 | January 10, 2009 10:31 PM

What a great country we live in. Someone like JakeD can post an absolutely moronic comment and not have the gestapo after him.
Barack Obama has worked harder and done more before he is even president that Bush did in 8 years. By the way where is George 'invisible' Bush these days? Probably having filet mignon dinners with his corporate and big oil buddies. Laughing about how he disgraced, destroyed and brought this country to its knees, financially, morally and ethically.

Posted by: JustMyOpinion | January 10, 2009 7:38 PM

The nation would love to eat a hot dog with Barack Obama any day of the week. On the other hand, the nation hurls at the thought of George Bush's last 8 years and wouldn't even want to break and share a French fry with ole George. Good riddance George! 80% of us are ecstatic you're leaving!

Posted by: KayInMaine | January 10, 2009 6:37 PM

This guy is someone I'd even buy a beer for. What a neat guy, a class act and I'm damned proud we have him in office. He's been compared to Kennedy with his potential and I have to laugh because the only "scandals" this guy'll have is how many times he gets caught by Michelle catching a cigarette in the closet instead of what Kennedy was doing in the closets.

Posted by: jackfrmi | January 10, 2009 6:08 PM

"Do you have any Idea of the kinds of things that fall into Commercial Sausage Press's,..."

LOL! :-D

If it does him in, the Minorities will be attacking each other!

Posted by: SAINT---The | January 10, 2009 5:31 PM

What a classy, decent man. I wonder what sort of depraved individual could fail to see it . . . Oh, JakeD, I didn't see your post there. Question answered.

Posted by: nodebris | January 10, 2009 5:21 PM

You mean "pResident Evil" eats free?

Posted by: JakeD | January 10, 2009 3:58 PM

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