First Lady Michelle Obama vanquished GOP challenger Ann Romney by just 287 votes out of more than 9,000 cast by readers in Family Circle's Presidential Cookie Bake-Off. It was "our smallest margin ever," the magazine said when announcing Mrs. Obama's win with White and Dark chocolate chip cookies. On Tuesday night, the First Lady used her hard-fought victory to make a larger political point: "Such a close race proves that every vote counts!," Mrs. Obama wrote on Twitter as she thanked her sugar-happy cookie voters. The tweet was posted after Mrs. Obama's visit to Cincinnati, Ohio, where early voting started on Tuesday. During her speech to a crowd of more than 11,600, Mrs. Obama pointed to President Obama's slim Buckeye State victory in 2008.
"We won Ohio by 262,000 votes," Mrs. Obama said.
"That may sound like a lot, but when you break that down...it’s 24 votes per precinct...That could be a couple of votes in your neighborhood, on your block. That could be a single vote in your apartment building, in your dorm room."
If the election, like the cookie contest, will be won with a handful of votes, Mrs. Obama wooing even more undecided voters with her cookie recipe makes sense. She stumped for cookie votes on Twitter, too. "Check out a favorite Obama family cookie recipe--then cast your vote in @FamilyCircle’s Presidential Cookie Bake-Off," read a typical tweet on @MichelleObama.
The @familycircle cookie contest was a lot of fun, so thanks to those who voted. Such a close race proves that every vote counts! –mo
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) October 3, 2012
The cookie contest is from another era...
But the cookie contest is set against a backdrop of the Campaign wooing the crucial womens' vote while promoting equal rights and pay, but allowing the Princeton-educated and Harvard-trained Mrs. Obama to be "forced" into what some view as a stereotyped, sexist contest, Jezebel.com noted today.
"While it's tempting to joke about the metrics of stay-at-home mom success versus lawyer success, let's get down to the crux of the matter here: why the fuck are we still making the candidates' wives bake cookies?" noted the blog.
"Believe it or not, the First Lady bake-off started in 1992, not 1952, after a terribly uppity Hillary Clinton remarked that after her husband was elected Governor of Arkansas, she chose to pursue her career rather than "stay home and bake cookies." America did a collective spit take at her unbridled, raw, unfeminine ambition."
Both Obamas have mortgaged all kinds of private information in service to the President's campaign, so what's a little sexist 1950s fun in the scheme of things, wink-wink? Jezebel.com predicts a grill-off if men are ever competing to be First Husband. (Above: Mrs. Obama's victory featured in the print edition of Family Circle)
Mrs. Obama, for the record, didn't spend loads of time developing her victorious cookie recipe. She used a culinary surrogate, borrowing the calorie-bomb recipe from her daughters' godmother, Eleanor 'Mama Kaye' Wilson.
Family Circle's contest has predicted all but one of the Presidential winners since launching in 1992. The magazine got it wrong in 2008, when Cindy McCain’s oatmeal butterscotch cookies beat Mrs. Obama's lemon zest shortbread cookies.
*Top photo by AP.