That was the day that Hillary Clinton held a Facebook chat and pronounced her dislike of the autumnal favorite pumpkin spice latte, the most politically poisonous position second to denouncing ethanol in Iowa.
Asked if she was a “pumpkin spice latte kind of gal’’ a few minutes before 2 p.m. Monday, Clinton said she “used to be until I saw how many calories are in them.’’
Well, The Washington Post would not let that denunciation go unchallenged, posting not one but two rebuttals within two hours of Clinton’s PSL position.
Post political blogger Chris Cillizza hit back first at 3:21 p.m. in an article titled “Hillary Clinton is dead, dead wrong — about pumpkin spice lattes.’’ Opinion writer and pumpkin spice latter defender Alexandra Petri followed suit less than 30 minutes later with, “Hillary Clinton is wrong about the Pumpkin Spice Latte.’’
Cillizza noted how popular the seasonal Starbucks original is, citing the hoard of gourd-flavored imitations, before tackling Clinton’s caloric claims.
What’s that you say? What about Clinton’s point about how many calories are in the PSL? Here’s the drink’s nutritional info — via Starbucks — for a grande (that’s a “medium’’ to normal people) with 2 percent milk: 310 calories and seven grams of fat. That’s practically good for you! Especially when you consider downing a grande 2 percent Salted Caramel Mocha (360 calories) or a grande 2 percent White Chocolate Mocha (400 calories).
What would you rather have for breakfast — a PSL (310 calories) or two cups of cheerios with 1¼ cups of skim milk (300 calories)? No contest.
Not an unfair point, considering you can reduce the calories in a PSL even more by subbing skim for 2 percent milk.
Petri also defended the merits of the PSL’s nutrition (or relative lack thereof).
Yes, your health counts, and you can prolong your life, I suppose, by eating kale and ditching the Pumpkin Spice Latte. But a life prolonged by eating kale is its own punishment.
It’s probably not worth noting — but we’ll do it anyway — that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz was reportedly urged by friends to enter to the Democratic primary race this summer.
Adding to the controversy, it’s not like Clinton has steered clear of sugary milk-based espresso drinks in the past. She kicked off her campaign with a “caramallow latte’’ at a cafe in Iowa.
Neither of the Post’s writers hid their own pumpkin-spiced bias. Petri said she was drinking a PSL while writing her article; an editor’s note at the end of Cillizza’s piece said, “Chris actually left the office to get one after writing this. Then again, he does that every day.’’
Here’s hoping that he comes back with a report on what Bernie Sanders thinks of the new (slightly healthier) Toasted Graham Latte.
2016 presidential candidates