Obama gets a bear hug from Fla. pizza shop owner
Sep 09, 2012
By Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY
Updated 15h 11m ago
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- President Obama gets his share of effusive supporters. But in what is likely a first for the 44th president, he got a bear hug.
President Barack Obama, right, is picked-up and lifted off the ground by Scott Van Duzer, left, owner of Big Apple Pizza and Pasta Italian Restaurant during an unannounced stop, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Ft. Pierce, Fla.
By Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP
En route to a rally in West Palm Beach on Sunday, Obama stopped by the Big Apple Pizza & Pasta Restaurant in Fort Pierce and met with the owner Scott Van Duzer.
"Scott, what's going on, man?" Obama shouted to Van Duzer as he came through the door, according to pool reporter Reid Epstein. "Scott, let me tell you, you are like the biggest pizza shop owner I've ever seen."
The president then approached Van Duzer, 46, of Port St. Lucie, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 260 pounds.
"Everybody look at these guns," Obama said, pointing to Van Duzer's muscles. "If I eat your pizza, will I look like that?"
The two men laughed. They embraced, and Van Duzer lifted Obama about a foot off the ground.
"Look at that!" Obama exclaimed, once back on firm ground. "Man, are you a power-lifter or what?"
Obama said he decided to stop by Van Duzer's restaurant because the restaurateur had done some record-breaking work promoting blood donations in his community. Van Duzer has received commendations from the White House and U.S. surgeon general.
"I still wonder how he got these biceps, but what we know is that the guy's just got a big heart along with big pecs," Obama said. "So we're very proud of him and we just want to say thank you for all the great work."
By the way, Van Duzer says he's a Republican who voted for Obama in 2008, and will vote for him again in 2012.