Cheesesteaks can be sticky in Philly politics
PHILADELPHIA – Just ordering sandwiches can be political during a presidential campaign.
Aides to John McCain bought a supply of Philadelphia’s trademark cheesesteaks for media covering his campaign this week from Geno’s – renowned for its signs that read “This is America. When ordering please speak English.”
The signs have sparked controversy, even though owner Joey Vento has said he does not refuse service to non-English speaking customers.
Critics say the signs are intimidating.
The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations looked into the controversy and, earlier this year, ruled in a split decision that the signs did not constitute discrimination.
When Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigned in Philadelphia ahead of the Pennsylvania primary this spring, they each sampled a cheesesteak – but neither ate at Geno’s, according to local media reports.
McCain was nowhere near the press corps when the Geno’s order arrived at the Philadelphia hotel on Tuesday, so it was not known if he ate one. The McCain campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
The order came with a supply of bumper stickers featuring Geno’s saying, a few of which now decorate the press section in the back of McCain’s campaign plane where reporters and photographers hang pictures and mementoes from months on the road.