Obama Gets Powerful Bear Hug

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 10 2012 5:15 PM

Pizza Parlor Owner Who Bear-Hugged Obama Says People Are Boycotting His Store Now

President Obama got a powerful bear hug from an excited Scott Van Duzer in Fort Pierce, Florida

Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages

UPDATE: It seems there are consequences to bear-hugging the president. Scott Van Duzer, who became famous overnight for lifting President Obama, tells Politico that “people are saying a lot of bad things and boycotting my restaurant.”

Monday, Sept. 10 at 7:27 a.m.: President Obama got more of a lift than he likely bargained for when he walked into the Big Apple Pizza & Pasta Restaurant in Fort Pierce, Fla. Sunday. The place was nearly empty but the owner, Scott Van Duzer, couldn’t hide his excitement to have the commander-in-chief visit his store.


Obama quickly began admiring Van Duzer’s physique. “Scott, let me tell you, you are like the biggest pizza shop owner I’ve ever seen,” Obama told the 6-foot-3, 260-pound Van Duzer. “Everybody look at these guns.”

The two men hugged, and Van Duzer seemingly couldn’t resist the urge to lift the president off the ground. (Video after the jump.) "Look at that!" Obama exclaimed once back on the ground. "Man, are you a powerlifter or what?" Indeed, notes Politico, Van Duzer later said he can bench-press 350 pounds.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.



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