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Obama cut line at Franklin Barbecue? Who else could get away with it?

Matthew Odam

President Obama made news last week when he visited Austin and skipped the famous wait at Franklin Barbecue. Some people were ridiculous enough to suggest he should have stood in line, and that those in front of whom he cut should be upset.

Don’t put me in that camp. He’s the most powerful man in the world and has a pretty busy schedule. While the brisket on Air Force One was still hot, he told Benjamin Netanyahu that the U.S. was willing to negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Furthermore, having him sitting in line for hours would have been a nightmare for the Secret Service, Austin traffic, etc. etc. The president shouldn’t wait in line for Franklin barbecue or anything else.

Franklin said afterward that Obama was the only person who had ever cut the line. But I wonder if that policy could be amended to include anyone else? What would the factors be? Fame? Money? Safety? The line as a whole endorsing a cutter who doesn’t ask to cut?

I think the Pope would be at the top of any possible line-skipping amnesty list. He’s a busy man, he’s pretty old, and his appearance would cause a crazy, crazy scene.

Who else …

Earl Campbell? The Longhorn legend is a proven barbecue lover, and he’s got bad knees. I don’t think he’d try to cut, but I feel like people in the line might insist.

Nolan Ryan? I don’t think he’d try and cut, and I reckon he’d have to wait it out.

Mack Brown? He’d have to wait.

Bono? I imagine his “people” would wait for him, but if they arrived and asked for line-cutting privileges, I think they’d be rebuffed.

Bruce Springsteen? He’s a man of the people. He’d wait.

LeBron James? He’d have to wait, but they may just bring him food to-go if it caused too much of a scene.

McConaughey? He’d wait and make the most of it.

So that leaves us with the Pope and Earl Campbell. I can’t think of who else might enjoy the Presidential Privilege.

(Side note: I thought someone told me a story about Aziz Ansari being served privately at a back table sans wait, but I haven’t confirmed it. Also, I doubt Jon Favreau had to wait while filming “Chef,” though thay may have been on a day the restaurant is usually closed. Maybe that’s the secret: bring a Hollywood camera crew.)