Video: Obama Helplessly Bear-Hugged into the Air
President Barack Obama joking poked fun at a 260-pound pizza owner, who promptly got the last laugh, bear-hugging the helpless president and lifting him one foot off the ground.
Obama was campaigning in Fort Pierce, Florida, a “swing state” that could be critical in the final election tally in November.
He dropped into a pizza restaurant owned by burly 6-foot 5-inches Scott Van Duzer, age 46, while 10 customers waited outside.
Talking as if they were old high school chums, President Obama greeted him saying, "Scott, what's going on man. Scott, let me tell you, you are like the biggest pizza shop owner I've ever seen."
"Everybody look at these guns," Obama said, pointing to Van Duzer's chest. "If I eat your pizza will I look like that?"
Van Duzer, who said he can bench press 350 pounds to a reporter who was inside the restaurant at the time, gave a hearty laugh and hugged the president, who then looked a bit helpless as Van Duzer easily picked him off the floor and left Obama dangling in his arms. Secret Service personnel anxiously looked on and chose not to interfere so long as Van Duzer didn’t tote him away.
After he touched down safely, Obama, said, "Look at that! Man are you a power lifter or what?"
Van Duzer, who said he only had 40-minutes notice that President Obama was going to enter his pizza parlor, explained he was "just overcome with excitement" and lifted the president. Obama stayed for about 20 minutes and paid in cash for 20 pizzas.
The pizza parlor owner actually is a Republican but voted for Obama in 2008 and obviously plans to do so again.
Van Duzer was chosen for the campaign stop because he is a community leader in blood donor drives.
CNN reported that Michelle Obama also was hoisted in the air by a female Olympic wrestler when the First Lady was in London for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.