Politics & Government
2:35 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

President Obama stops at Zingerman's in Ann Arbor

President Obama was in Ann Arbor today to give a speech on raising the federal minimum wage. Prior to the speech, Mr. Obama stopped at Zingerman's Delicatessen and ordered a Reuben sandwich. 

From the White House pool report:

POTUS and motorcade stopped at Zingerman's Deli in Ann Arbor just before 1:30 p.m. With his suit coat off and U.S. Rep. Gary Peters by his side, the president ordered a Reuben sandwich.

Peters ordered a Reuben as well saying the president is buying. Obama said Peters was "a cheap date."

And this pool report from Chad Livengood gives us insight into what type of pickle the president ordered:

It was initially unclear which pickle the president ordered, but he ruled out the garlic pickle because he has to go to Chicago later today for a fundraiser.

Andrea Byle, 22, the University of Michigan graduate who took Obama's order, said afterwards that he ordered Zingerman's "new pickle."

"The more crunchy one," Byle told a reporter as the pool was being shuffled out of the restaurant while POTUS and Rep. Gary Peters ate their sandwiches and talked with minimum wage workers.

The White House posted this tweet of the president's visit:

And these tweets came from Zingerman's:

Why Zingerman's?

The president said he visited the  Ann Arbor deli for two reasons:

"Zingerman's is a business that treats its workers well, and rewards honest work with honest wages."

"So one of the reasons I went was because the sandwiches are outstanding," Obama said in his speech to a crowd at the U of M Intramural Sports Building.  "The second reason, though, is Zingerman’s is a business that treats its workers well, and rewards honest work with honest wages."

Zingerman's co-founder, Paul Saginaw, is a staunch supporter of raising the federal minimum wage. Obama met with three workers during lunch telling them that the reason they were at Zingerman's is because they pay their workers above the minimum wage.

"If workers are being paid well they are spending more money and businesses have more money," Obama told them.

Saginaw was a guest on today's Stateside with Cynthia Canty.

During the interview, Saginaw said paying workers a better wage made sense for them financially.

"A well-paid staff that isn’t constantly struggling to make ends meet … has a lot more energy and focus on the job at hand," Saginaw said.

He told Canty that paying workers a living wage should be on more customers' minds.

“People are going in and they’re asking about, ‘where did the chicken come from?’ and ‘was the animal humanely raised?’ Right? We’re thinking about that a lot," said Saginaw.

"How often do they go into the restaurant and say, 'Hey, how much are you paying your dishwashers? How are you treating them?'"

"People are concerned about that and willing to pay more for that. How often do they go into the restaurant and say, ‘Hey, how much are you paying your dishwashers? How are you treating them? Do they get paid time off when they’re sick? Do they you provide health insurance for them?’ I think it’s time we started asking those questions."

Saginaw said he hopes the president's speech will help change people's minds about raising the minimum wage. Republicans are against any such measure. They say doing so will reduce the number of jobs.

Democrats and the president are hopeful the debate is one that resonates with voters.

*This post has been updated.