On Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, started to sob at a Taco Bell event, but it wasn't because the salsa was too spicy.
Boehner made a brief cameo at a gathering sponsored by the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, as the former gave the latter $30 million to help teens graduate from high school. (Taco Bell employs many teens, so that’s the connection.)
“Some of you know how I am about these things,” Boehner said, choking back tears while praising the work of the Boys & Girls Clubs. “We need to do a better job at educating more American kids. We live in America, for goodness' sake.”
Boehner stood alongside former Destiny's Child singer Kelly Rowland, a longtime advocate for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, who told Whispers she was touched by Boehner’s near-tears. “He’s so sweet,” she said. Rowland, in fact, felt similarly about all the members of Congress. “These people are dealing with so much on a regular day-to-day schedule,” she said, complimenting them for “carv[ing] out this space in their heart” for issues like America’s teenagers.
“You’ve got to respect those people who are in politics,” she said.
Besides the partnership announcement, FRANMAC, the Franchise Management Advisory Council – basically the group for Taco Bell’s franchisees – will be wooing congressional staffers with food Tuesday night. An annual tradition, last year they doled out nearly 10,000 tacos, burritos and nachos, according to Politico.
“We’re concerned about a lot of issues that are associated with small business because Taco Bell is made up of franchisees, they’re small-businesspeople,” explained Lee Mitchell, a Taco Bell franchisee and vice chairman of the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens.
Mitchell said that the group was talking to both Republicans and Democrats, but FRANMAC’s associated political group, TACO PAC (yes, that’s a real thing), has been decidedly for Republicans. In the 2014 cycle so far, TACO PAC has contributed $71,000 to the campaigns of 48 Republicans and just $6,000 to two Democrats – a fact that should make Boehner cry with joy.