Opinion Brief

Is beer Obama's secret campaign weapon?

Mitt Romney doesn't drink, but the president is knocking back cold ones on campaign stops to burnish his every-man cred — and win over middle-class voters

President Obama's been hitting a lot of sports bars lately, quaffing beers to burnish his regular-guy appeal. He even released the White House beer recipe to remind the suds-loving masses that he brews his own beer. Since none of this is an option for Mitt Romney — a devout Mormon whose religion bars him from boozing — has Obama decided that beer is his secret weapon to win over the white-guy voters both he and Romney covet?

Downing cold ones helps Obama immensely: Obama's likeability is buoying his campaign — he's the candidate Americans want to have a beer with, says David Freedlander at The Daily Beast. And he's exploiting his "alcohol advantage" by "bellying up to the nearest bar and ordering a cold one" to "peel off white male voters" from Romney. Bonus: Since this male-bonding ritual is off-limits to Romney, it highlights Mitt's "weirdness" without directly attacking his Mormonism.
"Will Obama's campaign-trail bar crawl leave Mitt Romney staggering?"

Romney is going after regular guys, too: Mitt isn't ceding this ground to Obama, says Peter Nicholas at The Wall Street Journal. In lieu of chugging Budweisers, he recently burnished his regular-guy cred by passing out hot dogs to NASCAR fans. And Obama's beer blitz has its awkward moments — Harvard-educated Nobel Peace Prize winners don't exactly blend in at working-class watering holes. Even Obama staffers admit "that he doesn't always look comfortable with a beer in his hand; he has been known to prefer martinis."
"Now appearing, regular guys"

Regular, schmegular. Obama just needs to win over craft-beer drinkers: Obama doesn't need to convince people he's an unlikely Joe Six-pack, says Don Russell at the Philadelphia Daily News. Joe Microbrew will do. The nation's craft-beer drinkers are overwhelmingly white and male, they evince a certain "open-minded attitude," and they're concentrated in 25 largely urban states with lots of breweries — and electoral votes. "Forget soccer moms and NASCAR dads." This year's election could go to the candidate who takes the craft-beer drinker vote.
"Craft-beer drinkers to decide election"

Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

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