Fort Pierce, Florida (CNN) - President Barack Obama got a warm embrace
on Sunday - one that lifted him about a foot off the ground.
While campaigning in Fort Pierce, Florida, the president stopped into
Big Apple Pizza and Pasta Restaurant, where about 10 customers were
gathered inside, and greeted the shop's owner, Scott Van Duzer.
"Scott, what's going on man," the president said as he walked in.
"Scott, let me tell you, you are like the biggest pizza shop owner
I've ever seen."
Van Duzer, 46, stands 6-foot-3, weighs 260 pounds and says he can
bench press 350 pounds, according to a pool reporter who was at the
"Everybody look at these guns," Obama said, pointing to Van Duzer's
chest. "If I eat your pizza will I look like that?"
Laughing, Van Duzer hugged the president, arched his back and hoisted
him off his feet.
"Look at that!" Obama said after he was back on the ground. "Man are
you a powerlifter or what?"
Talking to reporters afterward, Van Duzer said he didn't know the
president was coming to his restaurant until about 40 minutes
beforehand. The Florida business owner rushed from the driving range
to get there in time.
Describing himself as "a big political person," Van Duzer said he was
"just overcome with excitement" and lifted the president. Van Duzer
said he was a registered Republican who voted for Obama in 2008 and
plans to cast his ballot again for the president in November.
Asked if he was concerned about a Secret Service reaction to the hug,
Van Duzer said he was informed that "I was all right as long as I
didn't take him away."
The president said he wanted to stop by the shop and express
appreciation to Van Duzer for leading community efforts that encourage
"I still wonder how he got these biceps, but what we know is that the
guy's just got a big heart along with big pecs," Obama said. "So we're
very proud of him and we just want to say thank you for all the great
The president wasn't the only Obama to receive a big boost recently. A
female Olympic wrestler picked up his wife, Michelle, while the first
lady was in London to watch the opening ceremony and lead the
"Even before she made the rounds I thought I can't just hug her like
everybody else," the wrestler, Elena Pirozhkova, said. "I think she
was nervous. I went slow. I just picked her up. I wanted to ask her
permission. There was security all around. And she gave it. I will
only meet her once. I wanted to do something different."