Thursday, February 01, 2007

Showdown at the Sterling Family Restaurant

It's official - President Bush's act won't play in Peoria.

During his stopover in that quintessential midwestern town last week, where he spoke to some Caterpillar plant workers and threatened to flatten the press corp with a big ass earthmoving machine, Bush visited a local diner for some coffee with a side order of adulation.

At least the coffee was warm.
In town to deliver remarks on the economy, the president walked into the diner, where he was greeted with what can only be described as a sedate reception. No one rushed to shake his hand. There were no audible gasps or yelps of excitement that usually accompany visits like this. Last summer, a woman nearly fainted when Bush made an unscheduled visit for some donut holes at the legendary Lou Mitchell’s Restaurant in Chicago. In Peoria this week, many patrons found their pancakes more interesting. Except for the click of news cameras and the clang of a dish from the kitchen, the quiet was deafening.

“Sorry to interrupt you,” Bush said to a group of women, who were sitting in a booth with their young kids. “How’s the service?” As Bush signed a few autographs and shook hands, a man sitting at the counter lit a cigarette and asked for more coffee. Another woman, eyeing Bush and his entourage, sighed heavily and went back to her paper. She was reading the obituaries. “Sorry to interrupt your breakfast,” a White House aide told her. “No problem,” she huffed, in a not-so-friendly way. “Life goes on, I guess.”
Heraldblog salutes the patrons of the Sterling Family Restaurant in Peoria, Illinois.

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