Obama declines offer to arm wrestle Ohio man for his vote

Olivier Knox
The Ticket

President Barack Obama will shake your hand, kiss your babies, visit your diner, tour your school, headline your ice cream social, drop by your bar. If federal red tape has you snagged, he'll try to help slice through it. But he draws the line at arm wrestling you for your vote. (He also won't pretend to like your baseball team)

Obama visited Ziggy's Pub and Restaurant in Amherst, Ohio, on Thursday, one of several stops left off his public schedule, and New York Times reporter Mark Landler caught the scene.

The president got a round of applause and a barrage of camera flashes as he entered Ziggy's, a popular nighttime spot where the Wi-Fi code is "DRINKBEER." One of the large TV screens was showing a CNN report about Mitt Romney's amazing $100 million fundraising haul in June.

Enter patron Jeff Hawks. Hawks pointed to one of the TVs on the wall and told Obama: "You're in a building that has Fox News on."

Obama, whose White House has Fox News on nearly continuously, suggested that Hawks could ask to change the channel. "The customer is always right," the president said.

"I'll arm wrestle you for your vote," Hawks told Obama. (Landler's report was mum on the relative sizes of the two men). The president demurred. "No," he said, "I'll play basketball for your vote." Annnnd...scene. (The president's busy campaign schedule pulled him away).The president also spoke with Art Davis, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who represents a group that has been trying to get a meeting with the Veterans Affairs Secretary in a bid to break a logjam over disability claims.

The president summoned his trip director who promised to connect Davis with the right people. The veteran was then given a commemorative presidential coin. He seemed moved, but the self-described "concerned" Obama supporter wasn't totally won over.

"He's getting there," Davis said.