Sharing A Beer With President Obama Cost This Guy $25K
You’d think that sharing a beer with President Obama would at least make your Facebook status, but a beer tent owner at the Iowa State Fair isn’t very pleased with the POTUS visit. He estimates that Obama’s cameo cost him up to $25,000 in lost sales.
President Obama stopped in at the Iowa State Fair yesterday and offered to buy a round for patrons at the Budweiser beer tent. The overjoyed patrons chanted “four more years,” or “four more beers” depending on who you ask, and shared a brew with the POTUS in the impromptu beer summit. Everyone seemed pleased, except the tent’s owner, according to Newser. Apparently, the tent had to be shut down by Secret Service while Obama was inside, and visitors were only allowed in after being screened by agents. This turned Obama’s beer summit into less of a POTUS party and more of an intimate gathering, effectively shutting down the tent’s operations during a time of day when business should have been quite lucrative for owner Mike Cunningham.
All told, Cunningham estimates that President Obama’s visit to his beer tent cost him about $25,000 in lost sales. Though he said that he appreciated the historical significance of Obama’s visit, he said that the President’s appearance “put a damper on what I’m trying to do here,” complaining that “I was in a position to make a campaign donation against my will,” according to the Des Moines Register.
Cunningham is a registered Republican (explaining that last comment).
Media reports are painting a mixed picture of the begrudging beer tent owner, who is perhaps conflicted with his own feelings regarding Obama’s visit. He is actually a third-generation beer tent operator, and his family’s tent had been visited by three sitting presidents in the past. Despite saying “I wouldn’t have voted for (Obama) before. I won’t again,” and being generally upset over his loss in business (who can blame him), Cunningham was kind and cordial to the POTUS during his visit, smiling, posing for photos, and giving him a “Save Water; Drink Beer” shirt.
The beer tent controversy was first brought to light by Senator Chuck Grassley, when he tweeted:
How does PresO justify havin secret service shut down the bud tent @ the state fair nd the owner told me he loses 50,000 n 1 nite
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) August 13, 2012
There you see Grassley claiming that the beer tent lost double the amount Cunningham reported; apparently a smaller beer station near the amphitheater allowed Cunningham to recoup some of his money by setting up a proxy tent. The Register also noted that Obama purchased his beer (and a round for 10 or so fair-goers) with his own money. That’s a relief.