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Taste in Alcohol

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Obama: Beer Guy With a Wine Cellar
Barack Obama has a 1,000-bottle wine cellar in his home but has yet to publicly say what might be stored there, if anything. While he may shy from associating himself with such an elitist tipple, Obama has endorsed the most classic of "blue-collar" beverages. "We like beer," he said while standing with Senator Bob Casey in front of Erie Beer Co. this April. It is a taste he's apparently cultivating. Making a campaign swing through a sports bar in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Obama left seventh-eighths of a Yuengling untouched, then chatted with a local about the low-priced brew, according to ABC News. “What do they call it? A Yuengling?” Obama asked. “Trying a Pennsylvania beer, that’s what I’m talking about … Is it expensive, though? Wanna make sure it’s not some designer beer or something.” The New York Times has it that at a campaign event in North Liberty, Indiana, Obama checked out what the veterans were drinking, announced “I’m going to have a Bud,” and took big swigs from the bottle. Finally, on May 6, at a bar in North Carolina, Obama demanded to know "Where’s my beer?" "loud enough," according to the New York Times’ Caucus blog, "for the reporters to hear." He then scanned numerous microbrews on tap before asking for a “PBR,” or Pabst Blue Ribbon. (Proud Kenyans, meanwhile, have taken to calling Senator beer “Obama beer,” and the Sixpoint Craft Ales brewery at one point created a limited-edition batch of “Hop Obama” beer.) Obama has yet to show hard liquor any love. Visiting Russia in 2005, the Chicago Tribune reported, he "discreetly asked for water in his shot glass" during a vodka toast with "foreign leaders and local dignitaries." Perhaps Obama simply got all the drinking out of his system in high school, a time he admits was focused a little too much on partying and not enough on studying.

McCain: Drank Like a Sailor, Obviously
Despite his marriage to an Anheuser-Busch distribution heiress, a McCain spokesperson once said the senator “rarely, if ever, drinks alcohol.” But Maureen Dowd writes that McCain’s friends say he enjoys “vodka with little green cocktail olives,” and the columnist herself has noticed McCain’s “habit of ordering one double vodka and sipping it slowly.” Though he denies taking part in any kind of “drinking contest” in Estonia (see "Clinton: Who Wants Shots?"), his campaign has acknowledged that he had two drinks at the dinner. Over his many years in the military, McCain did what sailors are famous for—namely, drinking like sailors. “I must say that in my misspent youth, on occasion I might have enjoyed the company of my fellow pilots at happy hour, and the convivial atmosphere was conducive to a certain number of libations,” he once eloquently admitted to the New York Times. “Mainly, we drank a lot of beer,” McCain writes in Faith of My Fathers of his and his friends' time at the Naval Academy. He recounts “indulging in the vices sailors are infamous for,” including “excessive drinking,” while at port in Rio de Janeiro. And if he doesn’t drink much anymore, maybe it’s because he’s learned a lesson or two. Once, while journeying to meet his girlfriend’s parents at their home for the first time, McCain had a short layover at a Philadelphia train station. He sat down at the bar, in his uniform, and caught the eye of “several friendly, inebriated commuters” who bought him enough drinks to make him miss his first three trains. When he finally arrived at his girlfriend’s house, plastered and hours late, he walked up the front steps and fell through the screen door. The girl’s father thanked him for coming and called him a cab. McCain never saw the girl again.


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