Barack Obama lured people to his Berlin speech with FREE beer and food ... NOT!

Apologies for the preponderance of PUMA posts (try saying that ten times fast), but willful dishonesty really crawls up my ass (Willful Dishonesty, My Ass!)...

As Betty noted earlier, the Just Say No Deal coalition issued an extremely shady “press release” Sunday that stated the following about Barack Obama’s Berlin speech [UPDATED TO INCLUDE FULL RELEASE WITH BOLDED PASSAGES]:

United States of America (Press Release) July 27, 2008—
“While coverage of Senator Obama’s Berlin speech provided audiences here at home nothing less that a visual “shock and awe,” it neglected to mention that the well-hyped speech had an opening act: a gratis concert by two wildly popular groups, Reggae artist Patrice and rock band Reamonn. While we appreciate the Obama Campaign’s hospitality, on behalf of furthering US international relations, offering free bratwurst, pizza and even beer for three hours during the free rock concert, we question whether or not the monies might have been better spent here on financially strapped US citizens. Furthermore the Just Say No Deal Coalition identifies this pattern as deceptive to media consumers. Similarly, back on May 20, 2008 in Portland, Oregon, the critically acclaimed local band The Decemberists performed a rare free concert prior to Senator Obama’s appearance (note: there are no reports of free refreshments being served during this appearance).

While news stories generated by both appearances focused on the enormity of the crowd size, few reports mentioned the accompanying perks, leaving some to question whether revelers are showing up for Senator Obama or for free food and entertainment. Without this additional information, Just Say No Deal contends that Americans are being misled about the presumptive Democratic nominee’s true popularity.”

And it’s not only Just Say No Honesty that’s propagating this bullshit, it’s all over the web.  Check out the Google search for “Obama,” “Berlin,” and “free beer.” PUMAs and their wingnut comrades-in-arms have been spreading this blatant anti-Obama lie wherever they can.

I looked all over for confirmation that the Obama campaign was plying the crowd with free beer, bratwurst or pizza, but could find no evidence whatsoever that this happened.  Here’s what I did find from people who actually attended the event (with emphasis added where appropriate):

From Flickr:

eric double-fisting at the obama speech. they sold beer and sausages


It was worth swilling expensive beer and slow-mo bumping-and-grinding through security lines to get within 30 meters (that’s 30 yards) of the Großer Stern—the base of the Victory Column rather than an object “beside” the column as some of the wires had it last week.

From Less Than a Shoestring (after my inquiry in the comments):

The idea of anything ever being FREE in Germany is absurd. Food and drinks were on sale at regular German street/fair prices. Even the media had to pay for their food from vendors!

From Kittywampus:

Oh, and there were even stands hawking beer, both inside and outside the security checkpoint. When’s the last time you could buy beer at a political rally? Now, not too many people were actually drinking it. The weather was hot (mid-80s, but hotter due to all the bodies) and the portapotties so vile that I would’ve preferred dehydration.

And now it gets even better…

I emailed Sungold from Kittywampus, who I’d had no previous interaction with, to see if the free-beer-and-food smear, eagerly amplified by Just Say No Deal (selected-not-elected) leader Diane Mantouvalos via a press release, was true and not only did Sungold write me back confirming my suspicions, but she penned a great follow-up post called, appropriately, “Beer, Bratwurst, and Bullshit”:

Via an email from alert reader Kevin K. (who’s got a great post on LaRouche supporters posing as PUMAs), I just got wind of a rumor that free beer and bratwurst were available at Obama’s Berlin speech last Thursday to entice a larger crowd to show up.

It’s total bullshit.

As I reported right after Obama’s appearance, there was lots of beer available. There were half-meter long bratwursts for sale, too - I recall this because even though I loathe sausage, a friend of mine was almost hungry enough to buy one. They looked too nasty, and he decided to go hungry instead.

But the point is, they were for sale. No one was offering free food or drink to lure unsuspecting Germans to the event. And let me say I have a keen nose for free comestibles, since I was usually broke in college and grad school.

People need to use their pea-brains! The sheer cost would have been ridiculous. And just assume for a moment - thinking along with the conspiracists - that a candidate wanted to use beer as a lure. You’d then expect to see posters or other advertisements getting the word out in advance. I arrived in Berlin a week earlier than Obama, I’ve been out and about by bike, subway, and bus, and I can testify: There was no such publicity. The German press didn’t make any mention of freebies either - not before the speech, and not afterward. (And yes, I’m highly fluent in German.)

Read it all.

I am now sending the following email to Diane and the other selected-not-elected Just Say No Deal leader Will Bower:

Dear Diane and Will,

I believe the recent Just Say No Deal press release (still featured on the splash page of your coalition’s web site as of 7/29) stating that Barack Obama lured people to his Berlin speech with free beer and food is erroneous and dishonest.  You can read the research I’ve accumulated debunking your claims here:


Either publicly retract your statements if they are, in fact, unsupportable or provide me with reliable sources to back up your claims.  The Just Say No Deal coalition’s integrity is on the line here. Let me hear you roar.

Kevin K.

UPDATE (7/29 8AM): Still no word from Diane or Will, but they did update the splash page of the Just Say No Deal web site, just, ya know, not in an honorable way…

In debating how McCain could possibly be leading Obama, MSBNC’s Morning Joe Anchors weighed in on the crowd factor, but failed to mention the perks.

Mika:  Yeah, but when you look at the crowds Barack Obama has actually generated!

Joe:    Crowds Schmrowds (we say:  read below)

[screenshot of the updated top portion of the page]

MORE: Sungold/Kittywampus tried to set the record straight over at No Quarter contributor Paganpower’s blog and was greeted with this...

paganpower Says:
July 29, 2008 at 4:42 am

kittywampus: If I had reason to believe that you were just some good soul attempting to correct the record i might honor your wishes. But since it is very apparent that you are nothing but an Obot poser take a well deserved hike. Or hop off the nearest cliff like the rest of the Lemmingcrats.

IN ADDITION: Another blogger who was at the Berlin event, Audrey at Uncornered Market, responded to an email from me and has allowed me to reprint her reply…

There was definitely no free beer or sausage where we were! All the trucks were 100% commercial : )  3.50 Euros ($5.25) for 0.4 liter beer and the same price for a sausage with a bun. Definitely no free beer signs anywhere!

Make sure to check out her account of attending the speech (including some great photos).

UPDATE: Diane, to her credit, responded to my email, but hasn’t given me permission (yet) to reprint it. Long and short, I’m still waiting for some verifiable proof from her that free food and beer was being doled out at the event.  She claims it was reported in German media (still waiting for evidence of that) and that a PUMA expat on the ground in Berlin is her source. That’s about it for now.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: We’ve conquered the Googles machine…

obama free beer berlin (currently #2 search result)
obama free food berlin (currently #2 search result)
obama free sausages berlin (currently #2 search result)
obama free bratwurst berlin (currently #1 search result)

SNOPES: Just got an email from them.  They’re on the case.

Posted by Kevin K. on 07/29/08 at 12:12 AM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsBarack ObamaElection '08PUMAsSkull Hampers

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Let the PUMA faaaaaail
Like it’s never faaailed before

Let the PUMA faaaaaaaail…

(with apologies to Mr. Ashcroft)

Thanks for getting the word out on this Kevin. It’s such an absurd rumor (I loved the statement that nothing in Germany is free - so so true!) and there’s so little to be gained by it.

I do have to wonder how many of these “PUMAs” are real Democrats. Your LaRouche post does a lot to feed my suspicions.

Yet another fail for PUMA.
Will these schmucks EVER catch a break!? No wonder they feel a kinship with Grandpa Mcsame…they’re going for the “everyone should feel sorry for us it’s not our fault we’re utterly hopeless” vote, cleary.

Meanwhile on No Quarter, Larry Johnson himself desperate for SOMETHING to stick pushes the PENTAGON debunked “Barack Obama hates the wounded troops because he wanted to work out” meme.

Maybe the hopeless angle is a good one…i’m almost feeling bad about mocking them, they’re so pathetic.

I purposely took a break from this PUMA crap and I see it’s gotten worse. At least I’m highly amused by their lies.

Whoa, you mean the PUMA screechers got basic facts wrong? Color me shocked. I wonder if they’ll respond to your email. It’s not like they really have any integrity to preserve anyway…

Perhaps they could steal a page from Obama’s book and lure fellow PUMAs to their upcoming gathering with crappy bands and overpriced food and beer.

It appears the “mind boggling, crazy good” conference room rates, opportunity to hobnob with fellow sore losers and PUMA contributions on Mary Kay purchases hasn’t helped them reach their stunning goal of 250! attendees yet—the invitation is still up.

Can we finally just call them frauds and be done with it?

Also, I don’t know if any of these pumas are big music listeners (although most are probably still holding on to some Heart 8-tracks and breaking out the Manheim Steamroller every xmas), but as much as I love The Decemberists, obscurantist, literate chamber pop rarely = crowds of over 75,000.

Also note, Betty, that the $250 registration fee is nonrefundable if they reach 250 attendees.  However, registration without a hotel stay is only $150.

But, in addition to the expected $62,500 raised by registration, they also need sponsors, contributions and donations?  huh… Sounds to me like someone’s trying to make a little more than a reputation for themselves.  And wouldn’t that money be better spent retiring Hillary’s campaign debt?

although most are probably still holding on to some Heart 8-tracks and breaking out the Manheim Steamroller every xmas

Bravo! Encore!

Ripley, I wonder how many spouses of PUMAs are pulling their hair out right now with how much their partners are spending on paying down Hillary’s debt, joining ill-conceived PACs, Denver hotel rooms, travel, PayPal blog donations, Larry Sinclair fundraisers and PUMA temporary tattoos.

Well, aside from the fact that the Decemberists have never attracted more than 10,000 to a free concert, the band’s name wasn’t even mentioned in the rally announcement.


But here’s my main question.  If people are showing up at rallies just for the free music, why don’t they peel out after the band stops playing?  Why stick around to stand in the hot sun for a few hours (with vile portapotties) just to listen to a bunch of political speeches?

Comment by zuzu's petals on 07/29/08 at 01:47 PM

This is off topic, but as the resident dumbass I need y’uns help to understand this masterful piece of argumentation featured over at TBogg’s place. I admit to being a shallow thinker, easily distracted and wont to use sarcasm instead of rigorous logic, but what the fuck is this?

More, despite the obvious differences, the bitterness of this killer toward those who are not like him, the intolerance, is evidenced journalistically in the desire to fit the circumstances into a preexisting paradigm that flatters the intellectual predispositions of the ideology through which they view the world.

Read the whole thing here .... le/#comments

Comment by HumboldtBlue on 07/29/08 at 02:46 PM

HumboldtBlue, oh noes.  Dan Collins is trying to imitate the Godlstein!!! Run for your lives!!!

He really should stick to stalking ex-girlfriends.

just assume for a moment - thinking along with the conspiracists - that a candidate wanted to use beer as a lure.

Yeah, making beer free or very cheap really brings out the best in large crowds, doesn’t it?

Ten Cent Beer Night was an ill-fated promotion held by the American League’s Cleveland Indians during a game against the Texas Rangers at Cleveland Municipal Stadium on June 4, 1974.

The idea behind the promotion was to offer as many eight-ounce (237 mL) cups of Stroh’s beer as the fans could drink for just 10¢ apiece, thus increasing ticket sales. However, the stunt also had the effect of slowly turning the calm and orderly baseball fans into a rowdy and raucous crowd devoid of inhibition. Ultimately, the game was forfeited to Texas on the orders of home plate umpire Nestor Chylak because of the crowd’s uncontrollable rowdiness, and because the game could not be resumed in a timely manner.

The game had a special significance for both clubs, as there had been a bench-clearing brawl in a Rangers/Indians game one week earlier at Arlington Stadium in Texas, during a “cheap beer night” there…. 9437.html

Internet rumors are false. Free Beer was not available.

United States of America (Press Release) July 29, 2008—News of the “Free Beer” at the Obama campaign event in Berlin are false. Beer was available through vendors, but attendees had to pay for it. Let the record be corrected.

Comment by Franz on 07/29/08 at 04:47 PM

Humboldt: Shorter Collins—“But Muslims kill people too, and you don’t denounce their hatemongers!”

How much did the vendors have to kick back to the Obama campaign for the right to sell at the rally? /snark


Pheew.  I thought Mawm snuck in here again. fun pics/images/lazy cat.jpg

This should be PUMA’s logo.

Comment by Scott P on 07/30/08 at 10:28 PM
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