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Obama’s Pi in the Sky

The Audacity of Extravagance

When you’re craving Pizza, you have options. You can call your local Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Papa Johns or Pizza Inn, and it will be delivered to your door. Or you can save the delivery charge and pick it up at the Pizzaria. My sister and her family prefer Papa Murphy’s, which prepares an oven-ready pie for you, and you pick it up, take it home and cook it yourself. Those who like to do it all for themselves can get the ingredients and make their own pizza from scratch. But if you’re Barack Obama, and you were completely blown away on the campaign trail by the pies from Pi in St. Louis, no other pizza will do:

On Saturday, another slightly-higher-viz Chicagoan was in town speaking to a record crowd (conservatively estimated at 80,000) on the Arch grounds. Long-time and active Barack Obama supporter Chris Sommers, owner of pizza restaurant Pi, had previously contacted the Obama advance team, saying he’d be honored to provide the crew with some post-visit nourishment. The team accepted Sommers’ offer and 5 pizzas were delivered downtown. Several hours later, Sommers’ cell phone rang: “Mr. Sommers? Please hold a moment.” After a pause: “Chris, this is Barack Obama. I just wanted to tell you that was the best pizza I have ever eaten—and I’m from Chicago. And thank you also for all your hard work and campaign support.”

Carry-out just isn’t an option in this case, because the pie would be stone cold by the time it landed in Washington D.C. What’s the president of the United States to do?

If he doesn’t want to go to St. Louis for Pi’s, then he flies Pi’s to Washington, D.C.:

Pi, which opened in St. Louis just over a year ago, is expanding its political circumference all the way to Pennsylvania Avenue, where later this week the proprietors will prepare a pizza feast for Obama and his family.

It’s a rare honor for anyone other than the president’s personal staff to cook at the White House kitchen, especially for an establishment that offers recycled cardboard to-go boxes instead of fine dining.

But Obama, whose culinary tastes lean more toward comfort food than gourmet cuisine, enjoys pizza enough that he’s calling across the country to get a slice.

And the staff at Pi is thrilled to deliver.

“What can you say?” said Pi partner Ryan Mangialardo. “It’s incredible.”

Mangialardo, 27, hopes to carry his own dough — enough for 20 pizzas — on the plane with him to Washington. Getting a cooler full of ingredients past airport security could be difficult, though, even if it is for the commander-in-chief.

Even if something gets confiscated, Mangialardo — who started in the pizza business as a teenager — should be well equipped once he reaches the White House. At his disposal will be a full-service commercial kitchen built to prepare dinner for 140 and hors d’oeuvres for more than 1,000.

“From what it sounds like, it’s the top of the line,” Mangialardo said. “They should have everything I need there to make the pizza happen.” 

Now to some of you, this may all sound a bit extravagant. After all, the president, back when he was just a candidate for the job he now holds, asked Americans to make sacrifices:

“We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK” 

And the First Lady, back when she was just the wife of a presidential candidate, was a bit more specific:

“The truth is, in order to get things like universal health care and a revamped education system, then someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so that someone else can have more.” 

Will the First Family and their dinner guests plan to give up a piece of their Pi? It doesn’t appear that they’re willing to make that sacrifice:

Sommers was told to think big – the Obamas are expecting leftovers, he said. Sommers said the president and his family are planning to enjoy more pizza on their Easter holiday. 

Oh, I get it! We’re the ones who have to make the sacrifices, not the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do Obamas. Okay, here’s the deal: You won’t hear another word of complaint from me about the extravagance and the hypocrisy of the Obamas, but I have conditions:

No more from the Obama apologists on the left about George W. Bush’s perceived extravagances. And STFU about the clothes the RNC purchased for Sarah Palin but she never asked for. Grant me that much, and I’ll give Obama a pass on his Pi in the sky. It’s a cinch bet for me, because I know the Left. They just can’t help themselves.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go check my thermostat.

- JP

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