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Understanding the Philly Cheesesteak/Kerry Incident [View All]

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LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:26 PM
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Understanding the Philly Cheesesteak/Kerry Incident
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Edited on Thu Aug-14-03 01:28 PM by LynneSin
To thousands of you here not from the Philly region, this seems like a trite incident. But the Philly Cheesesteak at either Pats or Genos has a long intertwined connection with Politicos as they pass through Philadelphia and try to find a way to connect with the blue collar workers of this city.

This is NOT a reason to not support Kerry, but hopefully this will be a big learning experience for the Kerry Campaign when they take on quirky traditions throughout this country (I'm sure other parts of the region have their own "Philly Cheesesteak" scenarios). And for that matter all the politicians out there. It would have taken a staffer 5 minutes to understand the significance of the whole Philly Cheesesteak incident and have save Kerry all this current aggravation.

Philadelphia Daily News has a great article about the Kerry situation and the whole meaning behind the Philly Cheesesteak. And mind you, yes you can buy a Cheesesteak at any greasy food joint throughout the country and many of them offer Swiss Cheese. But in Philly, the politicos go to Pats or Genos. Their pictures hang there on the wall with the politicos taking big bites out of their cheesesteaks. For years, Genos had a picture of Clinton right where you order your Cheesesteak. You can't get better publicity in South Philly that having your picture hanging at one of these 2 legendary Cheesesteak joints.

BTW, it's obvious that Ed Rendell, former mayor of Philly and now PA Governor, would make a big deal out of the Geno/Pat scene. But Ed used that philosophy throughout the rest of the state. I had friends in Harrisburg who were amazed that Ed Rendell showed up at "The Spot", a greasy diner most noted for the place to go after a night of drinking in Harrisburg and hangout for blue collar workings in the capital. Rendell would make stops into The Spot a few times to hang out with the locals and in return, The Spot made a sandwiched named after him. (and they did this BEFORE the november elections and they were also invited to the Ingaural Ball to serve their sandwich there)

This isn't about a Cheesesteak, it's about the ability of a candidate to interact with everyday people. You're better off skipping Pats/Genos altogether (but don't order one from somewhere else in Philly) than to go in there without a clue with what to do.

Cheesesteak bites Kerry

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, a Democratic presidential candidate, takes on a cheesesteak hoagie during a visit Monday to Pat's Steaks in South Philly.

THE presidential election is still 15 months away, the nation's attention is on Ben and Jen, and the biggest name in politics is Schwarzenegger.

But we may have just witnessed the unraveling of the Democratic front-runner's campaign for the White House right here in South Philadelphia, at 9th and Wharton.

Let it be recorded: At lunchtime on Aug. 11, 2003, under the familiar awning of Pat's King of Steaks, Sen. John Kerry attempted to eat a cheesesteak.

For presidential candidates, eating a cheesesteak in South Philly is a political rite of passage. Clinton did it, and so did Gore. John McCain gobbled one, with hot peppers.

But this is more than just shaking hands and kissing babies. For a pol, eating a cheesesteak is like running the gauntlet - past the surly counterman, through the variety of toppings, finishing it off without looking lame.


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