MR. GREGORY: I, I want–just yesterday, here at the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl–ever heard of it?
MR. COSBY: Oh, boy.
MAYOR FENTY: Yeah.
MR. GREGORY: Who was there, but our mayor with the president-elect. Now, they go inside. Hold on, hold on.
MR. COSBY: I’m out of here.
MR. GREGORY: No, no, no, no. Bill Cosby…
MR. COSBY: No, man.
MR. GREGORY: …listen to what happens inside. The president-elect goes inside and asks this question:
PRES.-ELECT OBAMA: What’s a half-smoke?
MR. GREGORY: What is a half-smoke? He goes to Ben’s Chili Bowl and asks, “What’s a half-smoke?” Can you believe that?
MR. COSBY: I’m taking my vote back.
MR. GREGORY: Well, there’s something else you should know.
MR. COSBY: Well–uh-oh.
MR. GREGORY: There’s something else you should know.
MR. COSBY: You starting stuff, man.
MR. GREGORY: Yeah. Now, wait a second…
MAYOR FENTY: This is why…
MR. COSBY: You don’t look like this kind of person.
MR. GREGORY: In Ben’s Chili Bowl it says “Who eats for free at Ben’s? Bill Cosby and no one else.” But during the 2008 race they’ve changed it: “Who eats for free at Ben’s? Bill Cosby and the Obama family.” You’re not alone.
MAYOR FENTY: David, you know, he said backstage that Obama hadn’t earned it.
MR. COSBY: Not only, not only that, Mr. Loose Lips, I am saying also that the only–there are two people, Michelle and his mother-in-law. I don’t mind them. But he has not earned it. Got to come a long way, Jack, before you can have…
MAYOR FENTY: See, the president’s not big enough.
MR. COSBY: But, but the mayor brought him to try to boost his name and put it on the thing.
REP. WATERS: Oh!
MR. GREGORY: Yeah. Unbelievable.
MR. COSBY: And his name, he’s a…
MAYOR FENTY: Cosby’s upset because I had the first half-smoke at the new baseball stadium, the first Ben’s Chili Bowl.
MR. COSBY: And you raised, you raised the half-smoke and said “I beat Bill Cosby.” That’s what you said.
— from ‘Meet the Press’ transcript / January. 11, 2009
Hearing that the long time white customers disrespect the new wave of white customers at Washington’s famous Ben’s Chili Bowl, and that Obama didn’t even know what a half-smoke was, and Cosby didn’t feel Barack had earned the right to eat free at Ben’s, whereas Michelle and her mother had, I feel a lot more comfortable wondering about the Obama- Fenty handshake in front of the street named after the owners that fed black activists and police and firemen alike back in ’68 and thinking about what seems like a different posture and manner in the Mayor and the President-elect than how Obama looks when he’s hanging out, say, with Hillary Clinton.