John Kasich would have been better off with a pie in the face. Or he could have stepped in a cow pie. But he came calling on New York voters and ran afoul of a pizza pie. I’m sure you’ve heard because scandal flies fast: The Ohio governor went to a pizza joint in Queens, ordered up a sizzling slice, and then – horrors – he ate it with a fork!
He may as well have stood in Time Square and said, “Dang, them buildin’s is tall!”
The wanna-be-president defended himself by saying the pizza was really hot, and to his credit he rapidly dropped the fork and switched to the proper protocol by hoisting his meal in his hands. Still, while voters may not fully understand economic policy, foreign affairs, or what an undersecretary does (because seriously, that sounds kind of sketchy) they do know how to eat pizza. And if you don’t, all your claims of being “one of the people” seem as cold as leftover crust.
I imagine the other candidates would have their own ways around any political pizza pitfalls. For example, Ted Cruz could order a whole pie but eat only the right side. Bernie Sanders might insist everyone on the street get a slice whether or not he can pay for it. Donald Trump would no doubt hire some “loser” eat the pie for him. And Hillary Clinton – I assume she would get her slice from a private server and gobble it at home.
Kidding aside, these ridiculous moments give campaign coordinators nightmares. You spend months crafting an image of your candidate as a sleeves-rolled-up regular sort ready to join the quest for common good, and then suddenly there is your guy with a dripping hunk of sausage on the tines of doom while the cameras blaze.
Kasich came into New York with a pretty thin piece of the electoral pie, so maybe it doesn’t matter. But a word of advice, Governor: Stay away from the hot dogs. They can be tricky too.
(CNN’S Tom Foreman is the author of My Year of Running Dangerously. He eats with his hands all the time. It’s horrible.)