What Happened When Obama Ate a Sandwich

A cautionary tale.

Lest you make the same mistake as me, listen to my tale.
National Journal
Brian Resnick
April 2, 2014, 11:56 a.m.

A Man and His Sandwich

On a cool, clear Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, the pres­id­ent of the United States, com­mand­er in chief of the U.S. armed forces, the lead­er of the free world, walked in­to a sand­wich shop.

A red-brick build­ing on a brick-lined street, Zin­ger­man’s in Ann Ar­bor boasts thou­sands of sand­wich choices. The pres­id­ent, feel­ing as­sured in the face of a thou­sand pos­sible choices, chose the Re­uben. 

“Both the pres­id­ent and Con­gress­man [Gary] Peters stood in front of a large dis­play case filled with salads, meats, desserts, and oth­er good­ies,” Ben­jamin Wolfgang, a re­port­er with The Wash­ing­ton Times, con­firms in a pool re­port. “Both men ordered Re­uben sand­wiches (ap­par­ently a spe­cialty) and iced teas, while POTUS also got a side of ‘Che Che spin’ salad.”

But the pres­id­ent him­self tells a slightly dif­fer­ent story, one of prom­ise and dis­ap­point­ment.

This is how he tells it.

“I stopped at Zin­ger­man’s,” the pres­id­ent starts, telling his tale among a crowd of cheer­ful young schol­ars, “which is the right thing to do when you’re in Ann Ar­bor.”

He was just try­ing to do the right thing.

“I stopped for two reas­ons. The first is, the Re­uben is killer.”

As they gen­er­ally are. But dark­ness lurked.

“So I ordered like the small, and it didn’t look that small.”

Faced with the bounty. He, again, turned to do the right thing.

“So I gave half to Valer­ie Jar­rett who’s trav­el­ing with us.”

And all seemed OK.

“And then after I fin­ished the half, I wanted the half back.”


“But it was too late. All she had left was the pickle. So I took the pickle.”

The mes­sage Pres­id­ent Obama wanted to con­vey at Wed­nes­day’s rally in Ann Ar­bor, Mich., was one of rais­ing the min­im­um wage. He made his case, and we’ve heard a ver­sion of this speech be­fore. But lurk­ing be­hind the push for a fed­er­al $10.10-an-hour stand­ard was a per­son­al tale of  heart­break. It’s a tale that re­af­firms the treach­ery of friend­ship and the un­dy­ing bonds between a man and his sand­wich.

(Or, you can read an in­tel­lec­tu­ally ful­filling ana­lys­is about the min­im­um wage here.)

OK, let’s be­gin the tale.

A Man and His Sand­wich

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