Half-Baked

Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton & More Politics & Baked Goods (Photos)

From the candidate’s ‘7-Eleven’ gaffe to Hillary Clinton’s priorities, a look at politics and baked goods.

AP Photo; Getty Images

AP Photo; Getty Images

This week, smooth operator Mitt Romney offended a group of supporters by accusing them of bringing him cookies from 7-Eleven. The cookies were, in fact, from Bethel Bakery, a local institution eager to share their famous treats with the presidential candidate. In addition to inspiring a "cookie-gate" special at Bethel Bakery, the incident brings to mind other times when politics and baked goods have intersected. From Hillary Clinton opting not to “stay home and bake cookies” to affirmative action bake sales, see other political cookies.

Jeff Swensen / Getty Images

Mitt Romney

Bethel Bakery, Bethel Park, Pa.'s favorite sweet shop, contributed to Mitt Romney’s visit with trays of its famous cookies, but the candidate wasn’t impressed by the treats. “I’m not sure about these cookies. They don’t look like you made them,” he said, insisting that the cookies looked like they were from “a local 7-Eleven bakery or wherever.” The good folks at Bethel Bakery were clearly snubbed, but laughed off Romney’s rudeness, deciding to offer a “cookie-gate” special in his honor: buy a dozen cookies, get a half dozen free. “When I heard it, I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness. This guy has no idea how beloved this institution is that provided these cookies,’” said the bakery owner. “We wanted him to be welcomed with the best in the 'burgh, and he had no idea.”

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

Hillary Clinton

First lady Hillary Clinton was often criticized for pursing her own career and playing an active role in her husband’s policy agenda. When interviewed on “60 Minutes” in 1992, Clinton defended her choices by saying, “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life.” Clinton’s cookie comments caused quite a stir, as many interpreted her words as a dig at stay-at-home mothers.

Steven Senne / AP Photo

Sarah Palin

To help convey “the benefits of laissez-faire government,” Sarah Palin “brought dozens and dozens of cookies” to a Pennsylvania Christian school in the midst of a debate over giving kids too many sugary desserts. “I look at Pennsylvania and I think of sweets—I think of Hershey. Then I think, how dare they ban sweets from school here?” she said. “Who should be making the decisions about what you eat, school choice, and everything else? Should it be government or should it be the parents? It should be the parents.” Palin called the effort to ban cookies at the school an example of the nanny state run amok.”

Ben Margot / AP Photo

Bucknell University

A good old-fashioned bake sale is a great way to raise money, but what about bake sales that make a controversial statement? In 2009 conservative student groups on college campuses such as Bucknell University turned heads with their “affirmative action bake sales”. To illustrate the argument that affirmative action makes for unfair policies, the students would sell cookies to white students for $1, but only charge black and Latino males 50 cents. Bucknell’s bake sale was shut down—but not before attracting media attention—and the school’s president denounced the group’s message, despite many angry letters and calls in protest.

Getty Images

Michael Steele

Exactly what happened at the Maryland gubernatorial debate on September 26, 2002, is unclear, but several members of the media initially alleged that political opponents of then-Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele had pelted the African-American politician with Oreo cookies—sending a racist message that Steele was “black on the outside, white on the inside.” Others, including Steele, denied that cookies were thrown, though in one account, Steele said some Oreos “fell on the floor; two rolled up next to my shoe.” What really happened may forever be a mystery.

Harry Hamburg / AP Photo

Rep. Rose DeLauro

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) brought cookies to a news conference on Capitol Hill that both tasted great and furthered her agenda. “Protect Medicaid Now,” read the blue icing on the homemade sugar cookies.

The Cookie Defense?

We’re not exactly sure who this unnamed “politician” is, but cameras caught one busy pol using a cookie to dodge a reporter. “I’m still eating my cookie!” he exclaims in response to her incessant questioning.