For the most part, I’ve tried to stay away from politics when writing editorials and columns. Of course, those of you who know me can attest that I’m not shy about showing my true colors. Hey, I’m a journalist from Chicago; not that hard to figure out, is it?
But when Crystal Lindell forwarded this article from the New York Post about Hillary Clinton’s love of See’s Candies, I knew this required some commentary. First, let me provide you with the facts.
According to the article, the State Department, headed by Clinton from Jan. 21, 2009 to Feb. 1, 2013, purchased about 18,000 one-pound chocolate boxes from See’s Candies during that time. So happens, Warren Buffet’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns See’s Candies.
As Richard Morgan, the reporter who penned the article for the New York Post writes, “Secretary of State Clinton signed off on plenty of those purchases.” Currently, See’s one-pound boxes of chocolates typically sell for $18.50 and more. So if we do the math, we’re talking in excess of $300,000, give or take a volume discount.
And what were the chocolates used for? Well, seems U.S. personnel throughout the world gave them away as gifts. And as Gabrielle Price, a spokeswoman for the State Department told Bloomberg, which first broke the “chocolate connection” story, “See’s is an American company, and their gift options are very appropriate.”
What kind of diplomacy is that? And does Clinton’s cozy relationship with Buffet suggest any wrongdoing here? The Post story says that Buffet will join Clinton on a campaign swing in Omaha next month. What the ganache is going on here?
From my perspective, if you can’t purchase chocolate from people you like in order to spread good will, we have a problem, America. Of course, The Donald may have a different point of view, on how we can’t afford to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border since we’re spending lavish amounts on crony-linked chocolates. Then again, maybe not. He’s admitted to liking See’s Candies. Or maybe he just likes Warren, you know hanging with the one-percenters.
Is this something the industry should take a stance on? Will Senator Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania, current steward of the candy desk, demand that only candies manufactured in Republican-controlled states be used as official gifts?
And where does President Obama weigh in on this? Well, according to blogger Cocoa Jeannie Beanie, he declared that “Chocolate helps with everything,” upon visiting L.A. Burdick as a senator in 2007. No coincidence that Burdick’s chocolate mice, penguins and other pieces make it to the White House every December, she adds.
Then there’s Fran’s Chocolates Smoked Salt Caramel, a presidential favorite. Ever since President Obama tried Fran Bigelow’s Smoked Salt Caramel in Seattle back in 2008 when he was campaigning, POTUS has been a special fan of the savoy and sweet confection.
He even asked her to make a special run for use at the White House, featuring, of course, the White House seal. Not hard to figure out why Bigelow is a FOB or Friend of Obama.
And just to show you that our man in the White House is a friend of the industry, he reportedly told O Magazine in 2007 that on his first date with Michelle, he “kissed her, and it tasted like chocolate.”
So, do you see where I’m going with this? I think it’s OK for politicians to embrace chocolate or any kind of confection as a sign of American good will. So Ted Cruz, stop gaming Candy Crush and start crunching some candies. Marco Rubio, you like Tex Mex, how about pushing Chick-o-Sticks? So Bernie, what’s your take on Birnn’s truffles?
OK, you get the drift. Let’s get a little more candy in our campaigns.