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Can Habaneros Heat Up Hillary’s Bid?

Going auténtico might win some Texas votes.


Was all the talk of Hillary Clinton’s jalapeño habit an effort to save her bid for the presidency? She unveiled the hot-pepper strategy to Katie Couric in early February, saying that eating them “keeps my metabolism revved up and keeps me healthy.” Campaigning for the must-win Texas primary, she talked about her habit at a San Antonio rally, too. Her spokesman, Jay Carson, insists it’s not some poll-tested grab for the Tex-Mex vote. “She eats all kinds of peppers, from jalapeños to habaneros to banana peppers,” he says. “She eats them regularly, at pretty much every meal. I’ve never seen a pepper too hot for her.” Still, “it will definitely help her,” says Gretchen Van Esselstyn, editor-in-chief of Chile Pepper magazine, a bi-monthly about “the zesty life” with a big readership in Texas. “In the Southwest and Texas, people think of it as all-American.” One Clintonista sees no harm in a chile-based Texas campaign: “Any strategy right now is a good strategy.”

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