These days, Hillary Clinton is an international public figure and permanent part of American history thanks to a résumé that includes first lady, U.S. senator, secretary of state, and presidential candidate (so far). But back in the early ’90s, she was just starting to become a household name as the wife of Democratic presidential candidate and then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton. At the time, she was already different from most first ladies before her. She had been a working mom, carving out a successful career for herself as a partner at a law firm, children’s rights advocate, and board member for the multibillion-dollar corporation Walmart.
As Hillary emerged on the national political scene, she would quickly learn that the extra-intense media scrutiny meant anything she said could easily become a soundbite to be quoted ad nauseam, dissected, and very often criticized. One of the first and most famous examples came during a campaign-trail stop in 1992 after she was questioned about whether her legal practice received advantages since she was married to the governor. “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas,” she said, “but what I decided to do was fulfill my profession.” The off-the-cuff comment prompted a media firestorm, with pundits alleging she had contempt for women who didn’t work outside the home, many stay-at-home moms taking offense, and even Family Circle magazine challenging her to a bake-off against Republican first lady Barbara Bush (kicking off a somewhat ridiculous tradition that continues today).
So we couldn’t help but notice that one of the most interesting pieces of merchandise currently for sale on the Clinton presidential campaign website is, actually, a cookie cutter. Specifically, an "H is for homemade” cookie cutter, which includes the signature arrow drawn into the “H” that’s become Clinton’s logo for the 2016 presidential race.
Did she sign off on this? Did her campaign folks think about the connection? Is it a wink-wink at the old issue? An oversight? We don’t know, but whether or not she becomes president, a Hillary Clinton cookie cutter seems like one of the more fun pieces of campaign memorabilia to hang on to. While most of the nominees, both Democratic and Republican, focus mostly on selling T-shirts, signs, bumper stickers, and buttons on their sites, many offer some fun food-and-drink-themed items that you can use long after the country has elected its next POTUS. Here are some of our favorites.
“You’ll be the life of the Hillary house party when you bring a plate of homemade cookies to your next campaign event,” reads the product description for this plated-steel cutter that molds cookie dough into the candidate’s H-with-an-arrow logo. While it would be neat if it created a cutout of her face or something even more Clinton-identifiable, it’ll get the job done for those who want to show their support through sweets.
You can actually brand your burgers with the Hillary logo with this spatula, which stays a step ahead of your barbecue plans thanks to a bottle opener on the handle. “It’s the perfect complement to the Grillary Clinton apron,” notes the site (though, sadly, it seems the apron is no longer available). And while some naysayers insist Clinton is out of touch with the average American, imagine the boost she’d get from a photo op of her operating the grill and cracking open a beer with the spatula-opener. Just an idea.
And speaking of beer and being out of touch with average Americans, Donald Trump’s camp is offering this pack of six beer koozies (assuming, it seems, that you’ll need to koozie up an entire six-pack at once?), all emblazoned with his campaign catchphrase, “Make America Great Again!,” on both sides. “Keep your beverages cold and show your support at the same time,” reads the description. We smell a new Instagram feed.
Those who hail from Miami — a city renowned for its legendary Cuban coffee — truly love their java, and Sen. Rubio is no exception. In June he told the that back when he was running for local government in the late ’90s, he attended so many meet-and-greets at area coffee shops that his hands were shaking thanks to the 18 cups of Cuban coffee he’d end up drinking in a day. So it’s only fitting that the Republican candidate is offering an array of coffee paraphernalia complete with coffee-themed puns. This product trio (which, the site notes, saves you $15 when compared with buying them separately) includes a travel mug and “diner mug,” both printed with “Wake Up, America!,” and an additional mug stating “I support freedom of Espresso.” Now, that’s an idea both parties can agree on.
Jeb Bush may be way behind in his poll numbers, but he’s high up in our book when it comes to solid campaign products. After all, most Americans already own a coffee mug, but how many own a novelty guacamole bowl cleverly named Guaca Bowle? Turns out the former governor and his wife get plenty of use out of it on the weekends. “Jeb and Columba love whipping up guacamole on Sunday Funday,” the product description explains. “Now, you can get in on the act with this ‘Guaca Bowle.’ Jeb’s secret guacamole recipe not included … yet.” Now might be the time to include it.
Here’s another punny coffee mug, this one for sale by Vermont senator and Democratic contender Bernie Sanders, which warns supporters, “Caution! Contents May Cause a Serious Bern.” Other hot items (get it?) include this Feel the Bern travel mug, which, we’re sure the candidate would agree, is perfect for following him out on the campaign trail.
For those trying to stay away from caffeine, Republican candidate Ben Carson is offering a water bottle with his name and campaign motto: “Heal, Inspire, Revive,” which makes sense. He is after all, a physician, and telling supporters to “stay hydrated” is solid medical advice. “This tall vessel holds your favorite cold beverages and is perfect for workouts, the office, home, or anywhere you can go!,” touts the description. The bad news for Ben? The product must not be flying off his campaign store shelves, as the price has been slashed from $18 to $12.60.
While nearly all the candidate merchandise we found was focused simply on self-promotion, Carly Fiorina gets the award for only-candidate-to-reference-other-candidates-on-a-mug thanks to her “Hillary? No Thanks” coffee mug. C’mon, isn’t something like “Carly Can Do It” much catchier? (Or at least high-roadier?)
By the end of this election cycle, we’re all going to need a drink, and some Rand Paul die-hards will be able to sip from the former candidate’s wine goblets that were available one day and gone the next. (As in, available when we started writing this story and then nowhere to be found, along with the entire store of Paul Gear a day after he announced he was dropping out of the race.) The campaign has a sense of humor, at least, as the broken URL now defaults to a page with the following tongue-in-cheek error message: “Even the NSA couldn’t find that page." Touché.