Deftly written pool report--on Barack Obama's Thursday visit to a pumpkin patch and the political implications thereof--is by Geoff Earle of the New York Post.
Obama body man Reggie Love holds the pumpkin Obama purchased.For Obama's comment about the pumpkin and Love--click below for the pool report.
(photo by Lynn Sweet)
Pool report # 1
One day before Halloween and five days before the election, Barack Obama visited a pumpkin patch in Sarasota, Fla. this afternoon after his rally there.
Actually, it was more of a pumpkin lot - a small parking lot full of healthy medium-sized pumpkins located across the street from a church. There was a small radio on a bench blasting country music, which made the sound a bit tricky.
"Let's go get some pumpkins!" Obama said to Mike, the man running the pumpkin sale, which turned out to be a fundraiser for hurricane relief. (We're working to confirm his last name, which sounded like it was Dul.)
Obama's personal pumpkin tastes were made plain: he flirts with the extremes, but then ends up going with conventional picks.
"I am interested - what's the biggest pumpkin?" he asked. There were about 50-100 pumpkins displayed in the lot.
Mike took Obama over to the back of the lot, where Obama strained to pick up one of the prize pumpkins. It looked heavy. Then he smiled made a mock gesture rubbing his back in pain.
(Note: These pumpkins were big, but nothing like the giants that Bill Clinton marveled over in Iowa last fall when he dazzled the press with his vast knowledge of watermelons and other farm products while his wife the candidate stood by awkwardly. Most were suitable for your porch).
Later, Obama turned to a pumpkin covered with colorful bumps and imperfections. "I know you want me to buy that nasty old pumpkin over there. I'm not gonna get that pumpkin," he said, showing his trademark determination.
"I think you're going to have to wait for Charlie Brown to carve that pumpkin," he joked.
Obama showed more interest in middle-of-the-road pumpkins. "I think these are the modest sized" ones, he said when pointing to his favorites, which were going for $6.
"All the money is going to help the kids go on a mission trip to help hurricane victims," Mike said, turning to the press and holding a mini impromptu press conference.
There wasn't too much more to say about pumpkins, so when some fans spotted the candidate from across the street and started screaming, he invited them over. "What's up guys?" Obama asked, to cheers. "Come on over ... Let 'em through."
"Thank you so much for what you do," one woman told him. One man joked that he was "Jeff the Carpenter" (It's possible his name was Joe the Carpenter, but it sounds like Jeff on the tape).
"Jeff the carpenter right here - that's what I'm talkin' about," Obama exclaimed. "You're going to get a tax cut."
Then a woman said in sarcastic voice: "You don't think I make over $250,000?" and laughed. "I'm just thinking - the odds are," Obama answered, trailing off.
Obama joked with the reporters and photographers who lined on the side of the pumpkin lot just a few feet away from the photo-op. He even talked about getting some for his travelling press.
"Since we don't allow knives, you guys are gonna have to carve it with your pens," he said.
Obama tried to talk the pool into making a donation. "Anybody else want a pumpkin?" he asked. "For a good cause, guys." Although your pooler had $10 at the ready, there was no time to shop.
"You can also donate to the church and not take a pumpkin," Obama advised while settling the tab.
A woman in black yelled to him: "You're awesome!"
Obama then posed a Zen-like riddle to the press: "What's bigger, Reggie's head or a pumpkin?" He was of course referring to smooth-scalped aide Reggie White, who played along.
As Obama walked off toward his SUV with a pumpkin in hand, your pooler asked whether Obama was going to bring one to John McCain in Arizona as a "surprise present" -- a reference to the tightening polls there on a day when his aides haven't ruled out a trip.
Obama seemed to like the question, but didn't answer it. "How's that for a segue? That wasn't bad there," he said.