WASHINGTON, DC–Taking steps to combat the nation's hunger problem, the federal government introduced six hearty new "Sizzlin' Skillet" breakfasts Monday.
"Good news, America," U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman said. "We've got something for even the biggest appetite. Wake up and smell what's cookin' at the federal government."
"Go Western with the government's Hearty Ranch Skillet, featuring a zesty Denver omelette, golden hash browns, and two choices of breakfast meats," Glickman continued. "Or enjoy our Southern Skillet with chicken-fried steak in country gravy, flaky buttermilk biscuits, and your choice of hash browns or grits."
Each breakfast, Glickman said, is cooked to order and comes in its own miniature serving skillet. Available for a limited-time-only introductory price of $2.99, the skillets are being served at more than 2,400 participating federal locations nationwide. In cooperation with the Social Security Administration, a 15 percent discount will be available to senior citizens, veterans, and the blind.
At a White House press conference, President Clinton called the skillet promotion "the fulfillment of promises made in 1992." "When I first ran for president, I envisioned a future filled with hot, fresh food served fast and with a smile," Clinton said. "In 1980, Reagan said it was morning in America. Well, he hadn't seen anything yet. Come and get it, America."
Speaking to reporters at a campaign stop in Plant City, FL, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush sharply criticized the breakfast deal, particularly its failure to include beverages in its price.
"This is just another Democratic ploy to gouge America with hidden costs," Bush said. "At a George W. Bush breakfast table, coffee would be included with every breakfast, or citizens would be allowed to substitute a 12-ounce Minute Maid orange juice for 65 cents extra."
Bush also attacked the offer's long-term health effects. "The money Americans save on a low-cost Meat Lover's Skillet will inevitably be wiped out by doctor bills when their hearts get clogged with cholesterol and empty calories. And this is to say nothing of the Great Lakes Skillet, with its corned-beef hash and three cheeses, adding up to a whopping 73 grams of fat."
Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore was quick to respond to Bush's criticisms. "The Clinton Administration has always been mindful of changing tastes and health concerns," said the vice-president during a speech before AFL-CIO members in Dallas. "That's why we offer low-fat alternatives like the new spinach and mushroom Veggie Skillet, a skillet Gov. Bush consistently chooses to ignore."
Overall response to the skillet promotion has been positive. Said Saginaw, MI, resident Alan Brodhagen, sampling the Eggs Benedict New York Skillet: "Ever since I was laid off from the auto plant eight months ago, I've been eating cold cereal for breakfast–if I was even awake before noon, that is. Now, I have six tasty reasons to get up in the morning."