Obama Not Dogged By Diet Revelations, But New York Times Hits Romney in Print With 'Cookie-Gate'

The conservative blogosphere has been making mirth out of an entry from Barack Obama's first autobiography, "Dreams From My Father," in which he briefly mentions eating dog as a child in Indonesia.

It also functions as a counter to another shaggy political anecdote, widely propagated throughout the liberal media, about Mitt Romney strapping his pet dog to a crate on the top of his station wagon for a long-ago family vacation. New York Times columnist Gail Collins is particularly obsessed with the non-story, mentioned it a few dozen times in her column since the story came to light in the summer of 2007.

Yet Obama's youthful foray into dog eating, first highlighted by Daily Caller blogger Jim Treacher on April 17, has yet to be mentioned in print (according to nytimes.com and Nexis searches) and was dismissed in one brief paragraph in an online "Diner's Journal" blog entry on April 19.

The New York Post: Food, of a sort, enters the presidential campaign: The Romney camp, stung by the old dog-on-top-of-the-car story, digs out an equally hoary tale about President Obama: his admission that he once ate dog meat.

That didn't stop the Times from bashing Obama's likely Republican opponent Mitt Romney over another trivial food-related item, "Cookie-gate," covered by Michael Barbaro in a brief article in Friday's print edition, "Making Hay Over Cookies." The online headline was more slanted: "Open Mouth, Insert Foot (Instead of Cookie)."

Mitt Romney never even tasted them.

But his offhand remark about a tray of five dozen cookies from a bakery in Bethel Park, Pa., on Tuesday has lighted up the local airwaves with confectionery consternation, even earning that most coveted distinction of superficial scandals – a name.

“Cookiegate,” as the bakery itself is calling the brouhaha, began as Mr. Romney sat down at a picnic table with six couples from suburban Pittsburgh to talk about the economy, a campaign event intended to capture the Republican presidential candidate engaged in casual conversation with ordinary Americans.

The table was filled with snacks, like potato chips and pretzels. But for whatever reason, Mr. Romney zeroed in on the cookies, a colorful collection that the bakery calls mini lady lox and gourmet thumbprints.

“I’m not sure about these cookies,” he said, looking at one of the woman. “They don’t look like you made them. No, no. They came from the local 7-Eleven, bakery, or whatever."

In the retelling, all anybody at Bethel Bakery, the beloved 57-year-old outfit that made the cookies, would remember was “7-Eleven.” As in, Mr. Romney had compared their bakery’s cookies with those from a convenience store.

Barbaro didn't miss out on the Obama campaign's contribution in egging on the latest mini-scandal:

Among the bakery’s new customers: the Obama campaign. The local Pennsylvania office ordered a tray of five dozen cookies on Thursday, the same platter that sat before Mr. Romney earlier in the week.