Beer Tent Owner: Obama Visit Cost Me $25K

Iowa State Fair vendor not pleased with presidential appearance

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 14, 2012 1:35 PM CDT

(Newser) – President Obama stopped by the Iowa State Fair last night, prompting chants of "Four more years" and "Four more beers" at the Bud Tent, where he offered to buy a round—but the owner of said tent was less than pleased with the visit. It seems the tent was shut down while Obama was inside, and visitors were allowed in only after being screened by the Secret Service. Since the tent effectively stopped operating during a time of day when business should have been booming, third-generation owner Mike Cunningham II estimates he lost about $25,000 in sales.

The tent had been visited by three sitting presidents in the past, and Cunningham appreciated Obama's visit from a historical perspective. But "I was in a position to make a campaign donation against my will," the Republican tells the Des Moines Register, adding, "I wouldn’t have voted for (Obama) before. I won’t again." Even so, he was nice enough to the president during his time in the tent, even giving him a "Save Water; Drink Beer" shirt. A tweet from Sen. Chuck Grassley first brought the beer tent controversy to light; Grassley claimed Obama cost Cunningham $50,000, but a smaller beer station near the amphitheater stage allowed Cunningham to recoup some of his money.

President Obama visits Cookie Smith at the "CinnieSmiths" mini cinnamon roll stand at the Iowa State Fair Monday.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Obama is given an Iowa State Fair hat as he visits on Monday.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Obama greets a young man as he visits the Iowa State Fair Monday.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Obama greets workers as he orders a beer at the beer stand at the Iowa State Fair.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Cole Nelson, 9 months, held by his mother, Deborah Nelson, inspects President Obama's face.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Obama has a beer with Mike Cunningham III and other workers.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Obama has a beer with Mike Cunningham, left, and another worker at the beer stand.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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