Republican presidential candidates wanted in on those drinking games that debate-watchers often play.
During two debates on CNBC Wednesday night, the candidates returned again and again to their love of beer, a subject with a rich history in American politics.
At the main debate, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz referred to the perennial question asked of voters: Which candidate would they like to get a beer with? But this time, he gave a surprising answer, noting that he has a reputation for stirring up trouble.
“If you want someone to grab a beer with, I may not be your guy,” he said. “But if you want someone to drive you home, I will get the job done. And I will get you home.”
Later, debate moderator Carl Quintanilla joked that he and Cruz wouldn’t be able to get a beer together after a rough back-and-forth, and Cruz responded with one of the goofier moments of the evening, offering to buy him a tequila or a pot brownie instead.
During the undercard debate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was asked about the proposed acquisition of Colorado-based Coors Brewing Co. by the owner of Budweiser, a move that would put a third of all brewers in the country in the hands of one company.
Santorum responded by noting the health of America’s microbreweries, citing personal experience.
“As I travel around the country, I do pints and politics, and I go to breweries all over the place, and there — there’s almost no town in America anymore that doesn’t have a brewery, so I don’t think we need to worry too much,” he said.
“I do drink lots of Coors beer,” he added.
At the undercard debate, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham added that he knows a thing or two about beer.
“Now, if you’re looking for good beer policy, I’m your best bet,” he said. “My dad owned a bar. I know beer.”
At the same debate, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal even worked in a reference when asked whether the day after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday.
“Well, absolutely, when the Saints go back to repeat, we were talking about beer sales earlier, all those folks from being hung over in Louisiana from drinking to celebrate Drew Brees winning this, I think it would be a great day to take off,” he said.