Man who bear hugged Obama: ‘I was caught up in the moment’


Scott Van Duzer, the Republican pizza parlor owner whose bear hug of President Obama went viral this weekend, says he was “just so caught up in the moment” of meeting the president, he felt the need to pick him up.

Embracing a man surrounded by Secret Service agents might not seem the wisest thing.

“I put him down quickly and made sure I wasn’t take away,” Van Duzer said during an appearance on Jansing & Co. Monday.

The president visited Van Duzer’s Big Apple Pizza restaurant in Fort Pierce, Fla., on Sunday while campaigning.

After shaking Van Duzer’s hand, the president commented on the physical size of the small business owner and his well developed “guns,” or biceps. Van Duzer then grabbed Obama into a bear hug, lifting him off the ground.

Van Duzer voted for Obama in 2008 after being taken by his “ethusiasm and message.” In terms of which political party might be better for his small business, Van Duzer said: “It’s my responsibility to be successful in my business…It’s no one’s choice but mine. Things are tough, but not just here in America, but worldwide.”

The Floridian said the hug was a “spontaneous moment,” not pre-approved by the campaign. The Secret Service took a few steps toward him before he put the president back down, Van Duzer related.

“It seemed like he was a long-lost friend,” he added.

Barack Obama

Man who bear hugged Obama: 'I was caught up in the moment'