January 10th, 2009
05:37 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama spends his Saturday 'half-smoking'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/10/art.bens1.gi.jpg caption="Obama made a Saturday stop at Ben's Chili Bowl, a local DC institution."]WASHINGTON (CNN) –- Obama popped in for lunch Saturday at Ben’s Chili Bowl, the 50-year-old Washington fast food institution famous for its “half-smokes” –- sausages smothered in spicy homemade chili sauce, mustard, and onions.

The visit came as a complete surprise to Sonya Ali, one of the owners of the family-run business.

“Do you think I’d look like this if I knew?” she said, referencing her red blouse and slacks. The Secret Service came in and secured the location. Ali asked them how soon they could expect the president-elect. “Within minutes,” they told her.

And sure enough, he did, with Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty in tow.

Security barricaded the U Street block, and hundreds rushed out of restaurants and apartment buildings to catch a glimpse of the incoming president.

Listen: Hear the crowd react and the owner reflect on the visit

Obama posed with diners and staff in all three rooms of the restaurant, before returning to the counter to collect his order: a chili half-smoke and sweet tea. Fenty had cheese fries and water.


Filed under: President-elect Obama
September 3rd, 2008
02:40 PM ET
14 years ago

McCain camp: Expect even 'edgier' speeches tonight

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/03/art.rudypodium0903.ap.jpg caption="Giuliani was joined by his wife, Judith, as he surveyed the podium at the Republican convention Tuesday."]
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) – Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is expected to come out swinging Wednesday, in a “compelling speech” intended to contrast the stark differences between presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain and his Democratic rival Barack Obama, a McCain campaign official told CNN.

“It’s red meat in the sense that it’s a very strong argument on why McCain is the better choice,” said the official, who previewed Giuliani’s address before the Republican National Convention.

Former governors and GOP presidential rivals Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney are also expected to address how McCain differs from Obama. With a critical look at Democrats, the speeches will address "why Washington’s broken" and how Republicans "must fix it."

“The speeches will be a little edgier tonight,” the official told CNN. Tonight, McCain will officially be nominated for the GOP nomination.

With speeches from Meg Whitman, former president and CEO of eBay, and Carly Fiorina, former chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, early in Wednesday night’s program, McCain officials say there will be a “big concentration on economic issues.”

While Whitman and Fiorina will not cover any new policy ground, the themes will “echo” McCain’s May speech entitled “2013,” where the Arizona senator maps out his first term achievements by 2013. Among the successes McCain envisions, “several years of robust economic growth” and winning the war in Iraq.