Mitt Romney’s Newest Mini-Headache: ‘Cookiegate’

In an awkward moment of forced small-talk, the GOP candidate inadvertently offended a local bakery – and 7-Eleven stores nationwide. Oops.

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Jeff Swensen / Getty Images

Mitt Romney speaks with Western Pennsylvania residents at the Bethel Park Community Center on April 17, 2012.

Having exhausted the social-media war over which candidate hates dogs the most, the traveling gaffe circus that is the presidential general election campaign has moved on to another hot-button issue: did Mitt Romney make an elitist quip about bakery cookies?

Romney’s out of touch! Or this video clip was just another moment of forced small-talk by the Republican candidate. This Tuesday, the presumptive GOP nominee headed to Pennsylvania to attend an event in the Pittsburgh area, where he was seen in a video seated at a picnic table with a spread of picnic-type foods, including some cookies of mysterious origin.

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“I’m not sure about these cookies,” a tentative Romney says in the clip. “They don’t look like you made them…they came from the local 7-Eleven…bakery or wherever.”

Of course, as Pittsburgh’s CBS and ABC affiliates point out, those weren’t just any old 7-Eleven cookies. They were “from Bethel Bakery, a longtime South Hills staple known for its signature pastries, cookies and cakes,” ABC’s WTAE News reported.

Oops: Mitt Romney just offended a local dining establishment. Naturally, the bakery drummed up a creative sales promotion to capitalize on the attention of the inevitably named incident, “Cookiegate.”

“7-Eleven bakery, where in the world is that?” John Walsh, owner of Bethel Bakery said in the news clip posted by CBS Pittsburgh. “Then I said…if we ever get a second shot at this, you know, he’ll know that he had a treat that he just didn’t realize just how highly coveted and beloved it really is.”

The real entity harmed in the harmless political gaffe, however, has to be 7-Eleven. The fluorescent-lit mega-chain, after all, was the generic place that Romney assumed someone would buy cookies from. Naturally, the 7-Eleven director of communications, Margaret Chabris, didn’t seem to see the comment negatively.

“Mitt Romney was right in thinking the cookies at a Pennsylvania event Tuesday could have come from a 7-Eleven bakery,” Chabris said to CNN, later adding: “More than 5,500 7-Eleven stores in the U.S. get cookies, donuts, muffins and other bakery items made fresh daily.”

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