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"Photato Op": Presidential Candidates Posing with Mr. Potato Head

Photo: Andy Green

A lot of people want to get their picture taken with presidential candidates, but not Iowa college student and political junkie Andy Green. He got them to take a photo with his Mr. Potato Head. Yep, you read that right: Mr. Potato Head.

The story of the young man and his spudhead began in 2004, when Green inherited the toy from his dying grandfather. Grandpa Robert had kept the faux spud on his bedroom shelf, Green says, and treated it like nothing more than a decoration. Green, however, wanted to show the toy around. So wherever he went -- and Green's traveled quite a bit -- so went the spudhead. To the Statue of Liberty, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, the Marine Corps War Memorial.

His parents and younger sister have a three-word explanation for this.

"That's just Andy," says his mom, Jenny Green, a secretary at Clinton Community College.

Later, Obama won the Iowa Caucus beating his main rival Hillary Clinton by a wide margin. In hindsight, perhaps Andy's observation of how the two of them interact with his plastic spud help to explain why:

He reserves his most intense reactions for Obama and Clinton, both of whom he's seen face-to-face a few times.

Clinton, Green says, seemed "distant," "cold," "fake."

"Look at her photo with Mr. Potato Head. She's really smiling, but it looks like a really forced smile. It's only because I told her she's one of the last ones to have her photo taken."

Meanwhile, Obama, Green says, was "engaging," "open," "just like one of us."

"Look at his photo with Mr. Potato Head. He got into it. He's really having fun."


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