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Obama Reaches for the "Beer Vote"

Have the president's advisors spotted a chance to draw a profitable contrast with his abstinent opponent?

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"Four more beers!" Photo via

By Chrisanne Grise

08/16/12

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It’s the classic US election question: which presidential candidate would you rather have a beer with? A candidate who can convince voters of superior drinking-buddy credentials is a candidate likable enough to win the White House—or so the theory goes. And Barack Obama seems to be doggedly pursuing the "beer vote," despite—or perhaps because of—the fact that his rival Mitt Romney eschews alcohol for religious reasons. At the Iowa State Fair this week, a woman offered the president a smoothie, to which he retorted, “Smoothie sounds okay, but a beer sounds better.” Soon, he was offering to buy booze for members of the crowd, who then began chanting, “Four more beers!” On his campaign stops, Obama is frequently seen with a drink in his hand, as if to prove to voters just how “normal” he is. It draws a pointed contrast to his wealthy, Mormon opponent's abstinence—and might just bolster a perception of Romney as an “atypical” American. On the same day that Obama talked beer at the Iowa State Fair, Romney was campaigning at a non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated juice bar. So will the beer vote help propel Obama to a second term? His ad team seems to think it's worth a shot; they devoted a significant amount of time this week to shooting footage of their man talking to voters—with a bottle clutched in his hand.

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