President Obama may not have known it back when he was candidate Obama working the blue-collar vote at Pleasant Valley Lanes in Altoona, Pa., during his 2008 campaign, but his infamous performance there may have established a tradition.
If his score of 37 did more to tarnish his reputation as a kegler than it did to boost his standing among the working class (he only bowled seven frames, but still), it also made for a tempting target. After all, demonstrating that you're a better bowler than the man whose house you someday hope to occupy is as effective a way of kicking off a campaign as any.
2012 Republican candidate, Rick Santorum, indulged said temptation that year when he tossed a turkey at a Sheboygan, Wis., bowling alley, then challenged rival Mitt Romney to a "bowl-off" prior to that state's primary. Hillary Clinton issued a much higher-stakes bowl-off in 2008, the year she followed Obama's 37 in Altoona with a dismal showing of her own on Ellen, missing the pins on a makeshift bowling lane before knocking one down on her second attempt. She nonetheless challenged Obama to a bowl-off for the Democratic presidential nomination, CNN reported.
This year, as Clinton gears up for her second White House run, bowling once again got some time in the national spotlight. In contrast to the aforementioned campaigners, though, Clinton seems at least as focused on what bowling can do for others as she may be on what it can do for her. While holding roundtable discussions with voters in Iowa, the state where she lost to Obama in the 2008 Iowa caucus, she reportedly bantered with an attendee who happened to be a bowling proprietor and inquired about his center's hours.
"We need more bowling," she then said. "Everybody needs to go bowling."
BloombergPolitics further reported Clinton "hinted she might visit" that proprietor's center. Given her 2008 performance on Ellen, she may first want to consult with one of the instructors featured in last year's 100 Top Coaches list in BJI.
You can read the whole Bloomberg story here. (Scroll to the end for the discussion of bowling).