City Paper is not for tourists
Barack Obama has a lot going for him: youth, good looks, inspiring orations, and now eight straight primary/caucus wins. Political types are wondering whether his momentum is unstoppable and how Hillary Clinton can catch up.
No one’s pointing to one secret of Obama’s success: doughnuts. When I voted in Del Ray yesterday, an Obama volunteer was offering voters of all stripes free doughnuts (I decided it would be an ethical violation to take one). Obama visited a doughnut shop with Mayor Adrian Fenty yesterday. And there he was on the cover of the Post this morning, big box o’ Dunkins in his arms. Ian Martinez, chair of DC for Obama, says the doughnut strategy was “pretty extensive.” Moonlighting Fenty adviser John Falcicchio, he says, “showed up [at Obama HQ] with 150 dozen doughnuts yesterday morning. It was awesome. We had one of those sandbag assembly lines passing boxes and boxes of doughnuts.” Martinez didn’t accompany any of the doughnuts to polling stations, but “I’ll tell you,” he says, “it seems like the doughnuts went fast. I don’t know if it affected anyone’s vote.”
(Martinez’s fascination with doughnuts has been documented in the pages of this paper, to which he’s contributed in the past.)
Attempts to navigate the Clinton and Obama phone trees in search of comment on this issue were fruitless, or at least an accurate reflection of this reporter’s utter cluelessness when it comes to political reportage. E-mails sent regarding this subject to both campaigns and to Falcicchio have, perhaps not surprisingly, gone unreturned.
UPDATE 5:22 p.m.: “Isn’t that generous!” marvels Peter Rosenstein, who was on Clinton’s D.C. steering committee and is on her national GOTV committee, when a reporter informs him about the Obama doughnut blitz. “We did not have a doughnut strategy,” he acknowledges. When asked if he thought Clinton might have done better had she handed out the sweet treats, Rosenstein says, “I don’t think it really mattered. I think the people who went out and supported Hillary did so because they believed and still believe in her candidacy. I don’t believe doughnuts were the issue.”
He adds: “I happen to like doughnuts, and I thank anybody who buys me a doughnut.”