Ice Cream Mogul Wants Pentagon on a Diet

Ben of Ben &Jerry's seeks commitments to trim defense budget.


Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Cofounder Ben Cohen.

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Did you talk to any of the Republican candidates?

Our folks in Iowa and New Hampshire have attended their campaign events and it has become quite clear they have no interest in this issue.

Not even anti-Iraq war Republican candidate Ron Paul?

He's looking to reduce our nuclear arsenal down to 1,000 weapons, which makes a tremendous amount of sense. We exploded one atomic bomb and it had quite an effect. Now we have 10,000 with the average being 15 times stronger than the one that blew up Hiroshima.

Have you tied in ice cream at all to the campaign?

There's currently a car magnet campaign encouraging our supporters to put a pie-chart car magnet on their car. If they get spotted by one of our car-magnet spotters they get free ice cream for a year.

Any flavor?

Any flavor, absolutely. But you have to be in Iowa or New Hampshire.

I know that "Stephen Colbert's AmeriCone Dream" is a recent flavor. How did you get involved with faux-pundit Stephen Colbert and does it have anything to do with your political activism?

I just heard that Ben & Jerry's were coming out with a flavor and someone suggested that we should go on his show. We're there and we had the budget-pie Frisbee and I said, "Look what we've got for you." He took one look at it and said, "What? The Pentagon only gets half? They should get all of it."

Besides "AmeriCone Dream," are there any politically oriented ice cream flavors?

Last year the company came out with a flavor called "American Pie," and you have our pie chart on the lid. It was for educational purposes. I think it was just a feature flavor, not a permanent flavor.

If a candidate would endorse your campaign, would there be an ice cream flavor named after them?

I would, but I don't run the company anymore. Cofounder is a good title, but I don't really have any say.

How plausible do you think it is that you'll get a majority of the Democratic candidates to commit to this issue?

I think as the candidates are getting serious about wanting to win the Iowa caucus, more and more of them will start coming our way. They've been saying they believe in this in general. Now we just need to see them get specific and put their money where their mouth is.