In an effort to solidify support in the Midwest, Mitt Romney held a press conference in Jefferson City, Missouri, to address what he called a "glaring gap" in Republican policy: nutrition. Romney told carnivorous voters that Missouri, the second-leading state in U.S. beef production, was the perfect locale in which to formally announce the crux of his physio-economic policy - more red meat.
"First Lady Obama has been extremely vocal regarding her views on nutrition. No Republican candidate has, to this point, effectively articulated the Republican stance on what Americans should eat. I'm going to take the opportunity now to do just that. We need to eat more red meat."
Romney went so far as to say that America's rates of red meat consumption, which are rumored to be on the verge of declining in such areas as Berkeley, California, are his number-one "beef" with America.
"We Americans have a responsibility to make food choices that are guided and informed not by nutrition or moral principles, but by the main issue facing our economy today: jobs. We need more jobs, and we need them now. For that reason, we need to eat what we can to boost the economy and create new jobs in the healthcare industry, in pharmaceutical companies, and most importantly, in our nation's slaughterhouses."
Romney noted that the mere act of eating more red meat on a regular basis will generate more jobs for doctors and nurses and will increase consumer demand for pharmaceutical remedies for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer. In addition, he touted an oft-overlooked benefit of slaughterhouses: mentally and emotionally preparing their employees for war.
"We live in an age of war - the war on terror. The time-honored profession of butchering not only provides millions of jobs, it also creates the sort of Americans we need - citizens who are not blinded by blood, who are not afraid of blood, and who can, in fact, recognize blood as a pathway to profit."
He dismissed concerns that increased consumption of red meat could elevate risks to Americans' personal health.
"People say red meat is bad for the heart. That may be true - medically. But beef is good for the heartLAND. Red meat feeds not only people, but also corporations, corporate executives, oil companies and food manufacturers. Sure, if we overindulge, red meat may make us fat. But we Americans have a proven track record of reasonable consumption of natural resources and an inherent capacity for self-restraint."
He added with a chuckle, "And at the very worst, we'll be fat and happy, right?"
Romney emphasized that he did not believe President Obama to be vegetarian.
"I want to be very clear here. I am NOT accusing Barack Obama of being a vegetarian. He's many things - a socialist, a communist, a radical pacifist - but vegetarian? Unfortunately, that's one I can't pin on him."
Nevertheless, directly thereafter, Romney alluded to what he described as "clear Democratic leanings" toward vegetarianism. Specifically, Romney noted that former U.S. president Bill Clinton recently admitted to maintaining a "largely vegan" diet for health reasons. Romney even called into question the true motivation for Clinton's largely-vegan diet.
"Yes, he claims it's for health reasons. But that's a slippery slope. You may start out doing it for health reasons, but who's to say that ultimately, down the road, you won't end up developing some inflated sense of ethics or compassion? That's a chance that we Americans can't afford to take. We can't be afraid of a little cholesterol, a little heart disease, or a little blood. We have wars to fight. And the war begins with the cows."
Romney added that while consumption of chickens, pigs, lambs, ducks and large fish is certainly to be encouraged, slaughtering a chicken simply does not convey the same message as killing a cow.
"Let's be honest. Nothing says 'blood' like beef."
Romney closed by unveiling his own proposed beef-based version of the Food and Drug Administration's traditional food pyramid.