Barack Obama's past dog meat eating and 2012 election campaign

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A passage from Barack Obama's autobiography Dreams From My Father recounts Obama eating dog meat as a child in Indonesia. It was created in April 2012 by Jim Treacher, a blogger at The Daily Caller. The article gained traction on Twitter and later achieved attention in the national media.


The article originated as a conservative response to jabs at Mitt Romney from the Obama campaign regarding a story that, in 1983, Romney had transported his dog on the roof rack of the family automobile. On April 17, 2012, Jim Treacher of The Daily Caller posted an article titled "Obama Bites Dog", in which he quoted the following passage from Chapter 2 of Barack Obama's autobiography, Dreams From My Father:

“With Lolo, I learned how to eat small green chill peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy). Like many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths. He explained that a man took on the powers of whatever he ate: One day soon, he promised, he would bring home a piece of tiger meat for us to share.”

According to John Podhoretz, the disclosure that Obama had eaten dog meat resulted in "literally tens of thousands of punchlines, quips, teases and simple vulgarities" based on the admission.

Political responses

Romney spokesperson Eric Fehrstrom retweeted a photo of Obama with his family dog Bo, which has originally been sent by Obama campaign manager David Axelrod, with the caption "In hindsight, a chilling photo". 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain tweeted a photo of his son's bulldog with the caption "I'm sorry Mr. President, he's not on the menu!"

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt responded on Twitter, characterizing the statements as an attack on a child. Obama supporters made the point that Obama eating dog meat provided by his stepfather when he was a boy could not be compared to something Romney had done as an adult, while Republicans made the points that Obama related the incident as an adult, and discussions of dogs during troubled economic times is "silly".

White House spokesman Jay Carney was asked about the matter on April 19, 2012, during a press conference. He replied, "I think we're talking to a reference in his book to a period when he was 6 or 7 years old. Making a big deal out of it sounds like somebody who's trying to get out of the doghouse."

Lamestream Media reaction

The Daily Beast named "Obama Eats Dog" their "Article of the Week".