Student’s Toy Ploy Brings Smile to Candidates’ Faces

CLINTON, Iowa — It’s not at all unusual for folks in this town to meet at least one of the presidential candidates. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Chris Dodd et al. have campaigned amid Clinton’s 27,000 residents in recent months.

What’s unusual — okay, a little odd — is for someone to have met almost all the candidates and taken photos of each one smiling with his Mr. Potato Head. That’s right. Mr. Potato Head.

“The candidates have been in Iowa forever. Why not have fun with the whole process?”

The story of the young man and his spudhead began in 2004, when Green inherited the toy from his dying grandfather. Grandpa Robert had kept the faux spud on his bedroom shelf, Green says, and treated it like nothing more than a decoration. Green, however, wanted to show the toy around. So wherever he went — and Green’s traveled quite a bit — so went the spudhead. To the Statue of Liberty, Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, the Marine Corps War Memorial.

His parents and younger sister have a three-word explanation for this.

“That’s just Andy,” says his mom, Jenny Green, a secretary at Clinton Community College.

Naturally, when the candidates started holding events near the University of Northern Iowa, where Green is a sophomore, he jumped on the opportunity.

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