The Latest ‘Gate (Served with Syrup!)

How is it that 24 hours have ticked by since it happened and I am just now hearing about WaffleGate? (Have I not been watching enough TV?)

As reported by Time’s Jay Newton Small from the campaign trail yesterday:

This morning at a diner in Scranton Obama sat down at the counter to enjoy a waffle breakfast with Senator Bob Casey. He’d already spent more than 30 minutes glad handing the restaurant’s denizens, and with the 15+ press pool crammed behind the counter before him Obama dug in. Which is when one of the network reporters took the advantage of the close proximity to ask a question about Jimmy Carter meeting with Hamas and Obama irritably answered: “Why can’t I just eat my waffle?”

And, as described yesterday by MSNBC Obama embed, Aswini Anburajan:

Chomping down on sausage and waffles at Glider’s Diner in Scranton today, with his Pennsylvania BFF (Sen. Bob Casey) at his side, Obama avoided commenting on former President Jimmy Carter’s meeting with Hamas.

Asked by a reporter if he had heard that Carter reported a positive outcome from the meeting, Obama looked sternly at the reporter in question and said, “Why can’t I just eat my waffle?”

Asked again by the reporter, Obama bit — not at the question but into a butter covered bite of Glider’s specialty over-size Belgian waffles. With a wink this time he said, “Just let me eat my waffle.”

Perhaps anticipating the question of, “Why couldn’t those whiny reporters just let Obama eat his waffle?” Newton Small writes:

Obama hasn’t given a press conference in 10 days and the questions, some of them — like Hamas — rather important, are starting to build up. If he wins the nomination he’ll be running again John McCain, whose philosophy is to give the press total access to the point of saturation; Obama might consider holding avails with a little more regularity. Then, maybe, reporters would let him to eat in peace.

In other words, if you starve the press, don’t be annoyed when they interrupt your delicious (and very public) breakfast.

And yes, I’m kind of making light of The Waffle Incident by calling it WaffleGate but there is something to chew on here: as Newton Small noted, there’s a big difference between McCain’s and Obama’s press “philosophies” (feast and famine, respectively?) and it would be naive to think that this difference won’t affect (subtly or not so) collective coverage of a McCain v. Obama contest.

UPDATE: After this morning’s diner breakfast (pancakes) in Pittsburgh? A press avail. Sustenance!

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.