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Bakery lets candidates' cookies get the votes

Chef Kaissi Lahcen puts a border of icing around images of Barack Obama and John McCain on sugar cookies Wednesday at Frida’s Cafe and Bakery in Largo. So far sales of Obama cookies are doing better than McCain cookies. Either way, 10 percent of the cookie sales go to the candidates’ campaigns.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

Chef Kaissi Lahcen puts a border of icing around images of Barack Obama and John McCain on sugar cookies Wednesday at Frida’s Cafe and Bakery in Largo. So far sales of Obama cookies are doing better than McCain cookies. Either way, 10 percent of the cookie sales go to the candidates’ campaigns.

LARGO

Predicting an election is a science that when done correctly, pinpoints the winning candidate within a few percentage points of accuracy. Or you can keep an eye on Largo cookie sales.

At Frida's Cafe and Bakery at 9700 Ulmerton Road Democrat Barack Obama is leading Republican John McCain 287 cookies to 199 cookies. The cookie counts are as of July 1.

For $1.99 plus tax, Frida's customers can buy an iced-sugar cookie with a picture of their favorite candidate. The pictures are printed on edible rice paper and the cookies are rimmed in red, white and blue sprinkles.

At the end of every month until the election, 10 percent of a candidate's cookie sales will go to their campaign.

How accurate is the bakery's voting competition? During the 2004 election, George W. Bush cookies outsold John Kerry cookies, said manager Kaissi Lahcen.

Customers take the competition seriously.

Recently, a man came in and paid for three McCain cookies but only took two. Give a free McCain cookie to the next person to buy an Obama cookie, the customer instructed.

Wednesday morning, Kate Hurley and Carmen Hoover ate breakfast at Frida's. It was a little too early for a cookie, but the women said they enthusiastically supported the effort.

"I think it's great they're focusing on the election," Hurley said. "Too much apathy, it drives me crazy."

Hoover agreed. Maybe the cookies, which are displayed prominently at the store's cash register, will remind customers about the November election.

The women became vague, however, about which cookie they would buy.

"I'd buy one of each and then the day of the election I'd see which one tasted better," Hurley joked.

Then the two friends began discussing welfare, No Child Left Behind, health insurance, the federal government and the middle class. All prompted by a sugar cookie.

Bakery lets candidates' cookies get the votes 07/02/08 [Last modified: Thursday, July 3, 2008 11:22am]
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