All Bethel Bakery wanted was to welcome Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to its Pennsylvania town with some locally-made cookies.
Instead, the gaffe-prone candidate inadvertently insulted the plate of baked goods that was presented to him at a campaign stop in Bethel Park on Wednesday, guessing it was from a convenience store.
I'm not sure about these cookies. It doesn't look like you made them. Did you make those cookies? No... they look like they're from a local 7-Eleven bakery or whatever, Romney told one of the voters he sat down with at a meet-and-greet event, according to video published by ABC affiliate WTAE Pittsburgh.
Bakery owner and president John Walsh was understandably taken aback. When I heard it, I thought, 'Oh, my goodness. This guy has no idea how beloved this institution is that provided these cookies, he told the local station.
Walsh said that as soon as he heard President Barack Obama's likely GOP rival was coming to town, to meet with a small group of voters from Bethel Park for 45 minutes at a picnic table, he had to get some cookies there.
In the video, Romney appears he is trying to make a joke about the cookies, but -- as his jokes often do -- it fell flat.
CookieGate, as Bethel Bakery has labeled the incident, is yet another example of the former Massachusetts governor trying to relate to regular American voters but coming off as elitist. During his campaign,he told a group of unemployed Floridians he is also unemployed, and said he likes NASCAR because he has some great friends who own teams. Those awkward moments make Romney, whose net worth is estimated at 300 million dollars, look like an out-of-touch car-elevator-owning multi-millionaire.
The gaffes have led Romney to often defend his wealth, recently telling Fox News in March I've been very successful, I'm not going to apologize for that. Ealier on Thursday, he told Fox News he wasn't going to apologize for my dad and his success in life either.
Some of Bethel Bakery's customers were upset about what Romney said about their beloved bakery and defended its honor on the store's Facebook page. You can perhaps do a rock candy 'diamond' topped cookie in honor of Mittens? wrote Carl Cristensen. Another local commenter, Elizabeth Couch Nordstroom, wrote, Mitt was probably just used to eating diamond encrusted cookies.
But the boutique bakery, which has been selling cookies, cupcakes and other pastries with its signature buttercream icing in the South Hills section of Pittsburgh since 1955, seem to be enjoying all the attention.
When calling the bakery, a recording thanks the listener for all the recent support and kind words during our CookieGate scandal. The WTAE video also points out the store is now offering the CookieGate special: buy a dozen cookies, get a half dozen free.
Walsh said he hopes he'll get a second shot at pleasing Romney. Maybe he's more of a cupcake person, or a pie person, he told WTAE.