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Candidates May Differ On Issues But Agree On Pizza

January 15, 1988

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Jack Kemp calls pizza a national treasure. Bob Dole once took pizza to American servicemen in Korea. Pat Robertson is partial to pepperoni while Sen. Paul Simon of Illinois likes - what else? - Chicago-style pizza.

The men who would be president may disagree on the national debt, defense spending and nuclear arms treaties, but their feelings for pizza cross party lines.

Eleven of the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates answered questions about pizza posed by the Carson Group of Pittsburgh. The poll was done for National Pizza Week, an industry promotion which begins Monday.

″Pizza is a national treasure. I intend to eat a lot of it in the White House,″ said Kemp, a Republican congressman from New York.

″I’ve been disturbed by the recent elitist trend to put junk like duck meat, caviar and arugula on pizza. As a conservative, I like my pizza the old fashioned way - with sausage, onions, peppers and mushrooms,″ Kemp said.

Dole, the Republican senator from Kansas, led a delegation of senators to the Far East in 1985, according to spokesman Walt Riker.

″Before leaving, they froze dozens of Pizza Hut pizzas, loaded them on an Air Force jet and flew them to Seoul, South Korea. From there, a bus took the senators and their special delivery to the Demilitarized Zone, where they served pizza to American servicemen on the front line of freedom,″ Riker said.

David Carle, spokesman for Simon, said the Illinois Democrat goes for the deep-dish pizza made famous in Chicago, even if it brings back memories of the pizza he once had to provide to California Sen. Alan Cranston in payment of a bet over a Chicago Cubs-San Diego Padres baseball game.

Alexander Haig, former secretary of state under President Reagan, ″asks for everything but anchovies,″ said aide Leslie Milsten.

″His son, Alex Jr., told me that when he was secretary of state, father and son would elude the Secret Service and go out for pizza on Sunday afternoons,″ Milsten said.

Democrat Jesse Jackson doesn’t eat much pizza because of his hectic schedule, but when he does, he prefers vegetarian dishes, according to spokeswoman April Branch.

Robertson doesn’t eat much on the road either, having a preference for pepperoni and mushroom toppings served at a hometown pizzeria in Virginia Beach, Va.

Pizza is a family affair for U.S. Sen. Albert Gore Jr., D-Tenn.

″Once or twice a month, we get together, rent movies for the VCR and order pizza - either with pepperoni and onions or with everything,″ said his wife, Tipper.

Gary Hart enjoys deep-dish pizza with cheese, sausage, mushrooms and peppers, according to his daughter, Andrea. U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., likes extra cheese and pepperoni on his pizza. Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis is partial to Greek pizza parlors.

And an aide to former Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt said Babbitt stopped his limousine to get a pepperoni pizza in New York after his recent appearance on NBC’s ″Saturday Night Live.″

Vice President George Bush and former Delaware Gov. Pete du Pont did not respond to the survey.

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