Fort Pierce pizza shop owner is an Obama booster — really

Published Sept. 10, 2012

FORT PIERCE — Scott Van Duzer, pizza parlor owner and blood donator, can bench press 350 pounds. So he had no trouble with the 6-foot-1, 176-pound, skinny President Barack Obama.

Obama got a huge lift — literally — from the registered Republican during an unscheduled stop at Van Duzer's Big Apple Pizza and Pasta Italian Restaurant on Sunday.

"Look at that!" Obama exclaimed after the ebullient owner lifted him a good couple of feet off the ground after he walked into the restaurant. "Man, are you a power lifter or what?"

The president was on a bus tour of Florida, stopping at various nooks and crannies along the way. Van Duzer, who says he voted for Obama in 2008 despite his Republican affiliation and plans to do so again, was on the driving range — wearing gray workout shorts and a gray T-shirt—when he got word that the president was coming to his pizza shop to visit.

He hustled back to the shop lickety split.

Obama said he decided to stop at the pizza place because of the work Van Duzer does donating blood and urging others to do the same.

"One of the reasons that we wanted to stop by is that Scott has been doing unbelievable work out of this pizza shop in promoting the importance of donating blood," Obama said. "And so he has set some records here in Florida. He has received commendations from the White House, the surgeon general, he has galvanized and mobilized the local community and he's educating kids and folks all across the country on this issue."

And now, we can say, he has also lifted the president.

The president's Secret Service agents looked a bit perturbed, but Van Duzer said that he got permission first.

Speaking to reporters after, he said an agent "said I was all right as long as I didn't take him away."

No, the Secret Service doesn't like it when people take the president away.