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Hillary Clinton drinks to NAFTA?

April 15, 2008 |  6:12 am

A loyal Ticket reader named Christopher points out a humorous little sidelight to the rowdy political charges of recent days in the Democratic race for president.

As the voting nears in Pennsylvania and Indiana, the contest is rapidly coming down to which Ivy League-educated millionaireNew York Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes a sip of whisky with her mug of beer at Bronko's bar in Crown Point, IN Democratic senator with seven-figure homes and around-the-clock Secret Service care can talk the most sincerely about their genuine concern for working people and look the most like a regular working Joe before the next Midwestern primaries.

It could be close. Barack Obama has gone bowling, though he was horrible at it. Hillary Clinton has talked about shooting a duck once.

Clinton was in Crown Point, Ind., over the weekend doing one of those staged photo ops that every campaign loves because....

it sends a carefully designed message to millions and costs nothing through free media.

Obama mocked her Indiana visit on Monday for knocking back a whisky and hanging around duck blinds with a six-shooter, which was kind of a revealing gaffe on his part since shotguns are the weapon of choice when hunting unarmed birds.

All the public sees after these photo ops is the smiling candidate trying to bowl just like anyone else wearing rented shoes. We never hear the candidate's rant in the car afterward, "If you ever put me in that position again, you're fired!"

So, there Clinton was in Bronko's restaurant, just the kind of place that Hillary and Bill no doubt normally hang out at on a Saturday night after bowling and brats with the guys in the backwards baseball caps from one of the machine shops that surely dot the tranquil New York burg of Chappaqua.

The New York senator, who reported joint income of $109 million in recent years, was having a beer in a large mug just like any voter. And the  bartender opens his big mouth and says, "You want a shot with that?"

And the crowd of her carefully-screened supporters cheers. And what can a game, good-natured candidate do then with all the cameras running but agree? So the bartender says what'll you have and she says nothing sweet. And he says how about Crown Royal?

And she recognizes that name and says, yes, Crown Royal.

Crown Royal whisky was first distilled in 1939 to commemorate the visit of King George VI and his wife Elizabeth -- wait for it -- to Canada.

It's a Canadian whisky, the bestselling Canadian whisky in these United States, where it's been legally consumed since 1965.

So thank goodness for the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Sen. Clinton quietly opposed but publicly supported when her husband made it one of his administration's grand achievements, but now she says needs to be changed because not every voter benefited in the states she's visiting.

Clinton, by the way, tilted her head back and took a sip of the whisky. She did finish it too.

But she wasn't driving.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Video: Courtesy CBS News

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