Yesterday, President Obama met for a luncheon with Senate Republicans. On the menu: University of Maine lobster salad, Fox Family potato chips, and Wild Maine Blueberry pie.
Maine Senator Susan Collins was asked if Obama ate any of the food:
“He looked longingly at it,” Collins continued. “He honestly did look longingly at it, but apparently he has to have essentially a taster, and I pointed out to him that we were all tasters for him, that if the food had been poisoned all of us would have keeled over so, but he did look longingly at it and he remarked that we have far better food than the Democrats do, and I said that was because I was hosting.”
That sort of thing wouldn’t be unprecedented in the past few years, and I’ve heard of previous presidents having their food tested for precautionary reasons — but not at congressional functions.
In this case I suppose it’s possible the food taster was not there because he or she was the victim of sequester cuts, but that doesn’t seem unlikely.
And of course it’s possible that Collins was joking, but if you listen to the audio it sure doesn’t sound like it.
My guess is that Obama often does travel with a food taster — it’s just that the president’s “canary in the coal mine” isn’t aware of his function: