March 16th, 2009
04:02 PM ET
4 years ago

Obama shows off his cheesesteak knowledge

President Obama talked whiz with Marco Lentini, right.
President Obama talked whiz with Marco Lentini, right.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – During a long presidential run that featured countless campaign stops in eastern Pennsylvania, Barack Obama consumed his fair share of cheesesteaks.

And unlike former presidential candidate John Kerry, who once committed the cardinal sin of ordering the sandwich with Swiss cheese at Pat’s King of Steaks in Philadelphia, the president has apparently learned a truism of campaigning: a real cheesesteak is served not with Swiss, provolone or cheddar … but with whiz.

During a Monday press conference, Obama went out of his way to demonstrate this knowledge after meeting with small business owners from around the country, including Marco Lentini, who owns an organic restaurant in Philadelphia.

“I asked him, what was the equivalent at his shop of a cheese steak,” Obama said of the meeting. “And he described to me, what was it? A chicken ... ?”

Lentini interrupted, drawing laughter from the president and the press corps.

“A chicken Italiano,” he explained eagerly. “A chicken cutlet, spinach Florentine, sharp provolone, all on Italian ciabatta bread.”

“Right,” Obama said. “So, I wanted to know if there was whiz on that. And he said no.”

During the campaign, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said the future president could use a daily cheesesteak ration. "Perhaps the only thing I don't like about him is, he's too thin," he said.

Obama was quick to point out the perils of too much Pat’s. "A cheesesteak, once a day," he mused, "and I will have the pleasure of looking like Ed Rendell."


Filed under: Ed Rendell • President Obama
soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. Shooky

    So far on the ticker we have a story about Presidential sandwich knowledge, a story about McCain's daughter's rear, and a Viagra slam on a Republican.

    Also, I don't really see America's youth bursting out their front doors inspired by Obama. At best, they had a Rah Rah moment after the election and again at the inauguration, but seriously there is no difference with our youth post-election as we were told there would be.

    March 16, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  2. Ray Fisher

    Cheesesteaks are a politicians penchant for photo-ops but the true delicasy of Pennsylvania are their Amish and Mennonite communities with all natural food, homemade crafts, quality weaving and great wonderful people!!! I have never visted the East Coast without visiting the Lancaster Valley, MeadowBrook Farmer's Market, the Reading Dutchmaid clothing outlets and filling up with homemade birchbeer and Lebanon Bolgna... They make cheesesteak pale by comparison!!!

    March 16, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  3. mike in ohio

    obama understands how to talk to people.

    republicans are know-nothings.

    March 16, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  4. David

    This guy has done more in 50 days than President Bush did in 8 years. I am amazed at everything he has done in such a short amount of time. I think that it is great that he can maintain his humor in these stressful times and do all the things he has done.

    March 16, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. johnny

    republicans are vermin.

    March 16, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. Earl Ashman

    I would say " let them have the AIG bonuses'. Have IRS tax the receiver of the bonuses 90%. Sure bet the government will be on the road to recoup some of the money. The rest when AIG stock goes up.

    March 16, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  7. TJJ

    Hey...Obama didn't say the same thing as McCain. Obama said that if we focus on the fundamentally sound aspects of our economy, we'll be just fine. McCain said "the fundamentals of our economy our strong". What Obama said implicitly acknowledges that there are aspects of our economy that aren't fundamentally sound, while trying to be optimistic about the aspects that are. McCain never seemed to acknowledge that perhaps there were some aspects of our economy that weren't fundamentally sound.

    March 16, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. arithmetic is liberal

    Boy, Ray Fisher, you said it!!

    There is nothing as satisfying as a Mennonite meal.

    March 16, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. arithmetic is liberal

    Griff – put down the sunshine acid tabs and back away slowly.

    March 16, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. Little too late????

    COME ON CNN!!!!! First, tagging single mothers breaking up with the father of their child...NOW BO on Philly Cheese Steak Sandwitches???

    I am hanging on EVERY word and cannot wait for the NEXT 'news breaker'...what will that be??? MAYBE "The Obama Puppy Starts Potty Training..."???

    CNN, great job...get real.

    March 16, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    For the love of whoever!! Is there anything this elite snob isn't an expert on (except the economy and jobs and unemployment and,and, and infinitum)! Now a black is an expert on Phillie's! Give me a freakin' break and give him some turnips greens and fatback!

    March 16, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. Jean

    Now we know what he is good at.

    ObeTheTelepromper is clueless when it comes to the economy.

    March 16, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. karen-Phoenix

    Love you President Obama and your humor and your high intellegence. You will get us out of this mess!!!

    March 16, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  14. James

    I wonder how many advisors it took to find that little nugget. This guys is so artificial I wonder if he had the teleprompter on or an earpiece advising him what to say?

    March 16, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. Willy Brown

    #44 is not the change we can believe in.

    March 16, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  16. Peter (CA)

    Usual cast of bleating right wing know nothings on here getting all foamed up over a simple story.

    Thank you Anonymous @4:49 for showing your side's true colors.

    March 16, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  17. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    Thanks CNN. We need light moments and humor to help to break the tension and stress which the economic down turn has caused.

    Thanks for laughter.

    March 16, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  18. Steph

    It was a nice funny moment during an otherwise very serious press conference. I love our president!

    March 16, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. James

    Crush March 16th, 2009 4:07 pm ET
    I absolutely LOVE President Obama.
    -------------------------------–
    They say "Love is blind" and can be painfull.

    March 16, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  20. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA

    Too funny. Our President is special!!

    "Is there whiz on it?" lolololol

    March 16, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  21. bj, Texas

    President blah-blah talks a mean chessesteak. Too bad he's clueless on the economy.

    March 16, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  22. Dan, TX

    I'm glad I voted for Obama. I look forward to helping to re-elect him.

    March 16, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  23. karuna

    It is just great to see and listen to him – he is just a normal one of us!!

    March 16, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  24. Angie in PA

    He has a Great sense Of Humor!

    March 16, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  25. Pepou

    I love everything about President Obama. And those of you on this blog who are spiteful, sorry for you. You're jealous ?

    March 16, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
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