When Barack Obama responded to a child interviewer peppering him about his favorite food by saying that he relished broccoli, he probably wasn’t expecting his answer to become the major takeaway from Tuesday’s second annual Kids’ State Dinner, an event geared towards promoting healthy eating.
But Broccoli-gate, as it would come to be known – and specifically the Twitter response to Obama’s pronouncement – dominated coverage of the event, causing Slate’s David Weigel to tweet, “This broccoli discussion is more proof that you could fire half the press corps at random and America would be fine.”
Obama’s choice inspired some healthy skepticism from many corners of the web. @indecision, a Twitter account associated with Comedy Central’s Daily Show, tweeted “Obama tells kid journalist his favorite food is broccoli. And his favorite activity is lying to children,” while the Washington Post’s Alexandra Petri joked that the president’s hobbies include “flossing.”
Some saw the remark as an opportunity for political point-scoring. Ari Fleischer, George W. Bush’s original White House Press Secretary, tweeted “What kind of POTUS says his fav food is Broccoli? Same one who in 2008 complained about the price of arugula at Whole Foods,” in reference to a campaign trail comment that led to accusations of elitism.
Meanwhile, Democratic strategist David Plouffe cracked wise about Republican opposition to all things Obama, tweeting “All GOP 2016ers will now have to pledge to never eat broccoli again.”
Obama’s snack preferences, if taken to heart, places the president on the opposite side of the culinary spectrum of former-President George H.W. Bush, who famously struck broccoli from the menus of the White House and Air Force One, citing a lifelong distaste for the vegetable.