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August 6th, 2008
06:41 PM ET

Obama visits Schoops diner

Obama at Schoop's diner in Portage, Ind., Wednesday.

Obama at Schoop's diner in Portage, Ind., Wednesday.

Christopher Cooper
Wall Street Journal/pool reporter

Portage, Indiana is a little town about an hour and a half bus ride from Elkhart. Here, they have a diner called Schoops Hamburgers but everyone calls the place Schoops Portage on account of it being a local chain. It's one of those faux-Happy Days joints – railcar layout, clad in shiny aluminum, plopped down in a strip mall and capped with a red neon sign. Most everyone inside was in on the joke – they all knew Obama and Bayh were coming – they heard from their momma down at city hall, from local reporters, the mailman – via the usual Mayberry grapevine.

Obama and Bayh came in the front, turned right and started working the booths, ropeline style. Obama passed a table of steelworkers and reached beyond them. A bulky steelworker, a local named Tony Capriglione, shouted out at Bayh, "you get a job offer yet?"

The table fell out laughing. Bayh shifted his eyes with mock stealth and discomfort. "Shhhh," he said, walking his eyebrows in Obama's direction.

Then a lady in a pink shirt got in on the fun. "He your vice president?" She shouted at Obama. He chuckled and pretended like he was going to ignore her. "I haven't made a decision about my vice president yet," he said over his shoulder.

Obama went through a succession of admirers and supplicants: a guy wearing a wife-beater, a fireman, a kid wearing an "I..Am...So...Pissed...Off" t-shirt. He made his way to the Formica counter, ordered a cheeseburger with mustard, lettuce, tomato and three more with the works. A few diners sat sullenly as he worked the second half of the room, stonefaced and staring ahead as they worked through their nosh. Other people clearly were as excited to see Bayh as they were Obama. But most everyone in the room was about the senator from Chicago, had pens and cellphones at the ready, and angled hard for a keepsake to mark their brush with the presumptive nominee.

Outside was another scrum of local press and latecomers, maybe 100 people in all. Obama and Bayh worked the crowd, moving toward the bus. It was here that Bayh announced he was a big White Sox fan (Hey! Just like Obama!), prompting more than a few knowing eyerolls from the jaded national press corps.

The whole thing was done in 20 minutes. As they stepped toward the bus, Obama clapped Bayh on the shoulder and the two men shook hands.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Barack Obama
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. lampe

    Why, do you people insist that this will be an never-ending war? That is not what McCain said, " We may have to a force there ,just like we have in Germany and Japan, that in no way means that there will be fighting. Stop putting words in McCains mouth. What's Obama's plan this week it seems to change, almost every week. Is it, 16 months, against The Generals advice, or is it I've always said what ever The Generals say I will listen to. A man with no plan, is a dangerous man.

    August 6, 2008 at 9:55 pm |
  2. Jerry O'Connor

    I am a Canadian and watching this unfolding presidential race with tremendous interest. The question for America is.......OBAMA or MCAIN?

    I have finally come up with 2 questions of my own in order to put this whole race into proper context as to who America should put into their "whitehouse" come Nobember.

    The 2 questions are simply this. I think that they hit home hard and real but that is only my opinion as an outsider looking in with the greatest of respect for my American neighbour and friend.

    Would you entrust an inexperienced, young and unproven pilot to fly your brand new $50 million aeroplanne with 300 people on board?

    The obvious common sense answer is...."OF COURSE NOT" ....for many obvious and justified reasons.

    Having answered "NO'" to the above question........

    Then why would you entrust an inexperienced, young and unproven presidential hopeful to lead your country worth trillions of dollars with over 250 million people on board to direct and guide the U.S. of A. for the next 4 years?

    If you answered "NO" to the first question then the same must be said of the second question for the same obvious and justified reasons in order to put this matter into proper perspective.

    August 6, 2008 at 9:21 pm |
  3. andy reed

    i was there. i almost fainted. probably would have had i not blazed a spliff beforehand

    August 6, 2008 at 8:40 pm |
  4. ginni

    i'm sorry Maritza...i don't understand your comment. are you people crazy....we have a huge debt, an ongoing war (endless if mccain is elected), americans losing their jobs and losing their homes. and this is all you could come up with...??

    August 6, 2008 at 8:33 pm |
  5. Maritza

    Not a very impressive walk about , Mr smarty pants did not have fainter in the croud?

    August 6, 2008 at 7:04 pm |