Campaigning in Ft. Pierce, Florida on Sunday afternoon, President Obama was faced with a fan who was so enthusiastic, he grabbed the POTUS in a big bear hug and lifted him off his feet. Obama just went with it, shrugging toward the crowd in what looked like helpless amusement.
According to CBS News, the President greeted Scott Van Duzer, the owner of Big Apple Pizza & Pasta Restaurant, by saying, “Scott, let me tell you, you are like the biggest pizza shop owner I’ve ever seen.” Van Duzer responded with the hug, after which Obama joked, “Man, are you a power lifter or what?” Van Duzer, who is 6’3″ and weighs in at 260 pounds, said, “I was just overcome with excitement.”
Obama’s not the only one who showed flexibility in the situation. Van Duzer told reporters that he’s a Republican, but he voted for Obama in 2008 and he’ll vote for him again this year. “I vote who I feel comfortable with, and I do feel extremely comfortable with him,” he said.
The President visited this particular pizza shop with good reason. Scott Van Duzer is the founder of the Van Duzer Foundation. According to their website, “The mission of the Van Duzer Foundation is to assist families and individuals in St. Lucie County, Florida, who are experiencing financial and personal hardship brought about by unforeseen crisis or tragedy.” In particular, their focus has been on blood donations for those in need.
Their founder is both locally and nationally recognized for his work and Obama wanted to highlight that effort. But the pair’s mutual respect, admiration, and, yes, flexibility in new circumstances got at least as much attention.
Now if only the President’s opponent could overcome his notorious rigidity in campaign stops, he might have a chance, but…Nah!…it’ll never happen.