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Off Main Street (April 23): He’ll take fries with that

He’ll take fries with that

Former President Bill Clinton cleaned up his eating since leaving the Oval Office.

He now follows a vegan diet, and prefers green tea to coffee.

But everyone deserves a cheat day, and what better place to indulge than on the campaign trail.

Clinton, a once notorious nosher, couldn’t resist sampling a few french fries a diner offered him earlier this week at Alton’s restaurant in Cheektowaga. Photos of him reaching for the plate to grab a fry quickly started making the rounds on social media, and Tweeps were quick to reminisce about the 1992 Saturday Night Live skit in which Clinton, played by Phil Hartman, enters a McDonald’s and starts sampling food off the trays of diners.

“Say, you going to finish those fries?” the actor asked one supporter as he grabs a handful in the sketch.

He then goes on to sample virtually the entire McDonald’s menu as he makes his way around the restaurant talking policy with voters.

The real Clinton is much more restrained. His snacking in Buffalo was limited to the few fries at Alton’s.

And he didn’t help himself to the fries. The Alton’s patron offered them.

Just like the movies

Ted Cruz knows he’s not well liked by his Senate colleagues, but last week he seemed at peace with that during a town hall event on the University at Buffalo’s North Campus.

The Washington establishment, Cruz noted, once despised Ronald Reagan, too.

But now, Cruz said, “you cannot find a Republican who will swear Ronald Reagan is not tattooed on his body.”

“Do you have a Reagan tattoo?” moderator Chuck Todd asked Cruz.

“That’s between me and my wife, Heidi,” the Texas senator responded.

Cruz also called the Washington, D.C., establishment corrupt – like Don Corleone from “The Godfather.” (Cruz has said he liked all three movies).

Washington, he said, “is a corrupting place … the most corrupting thing is wanting to get re-elected. People get terrified of not being in office.”

It’s like in the “Godfather” movies, Cruz said of how Washington works: “He makes small incremental decisions, and at the end of the movie, he murders everyone.”

Laughs on the agenda

Banks’ annual meetings are hardly fertile ground for humor.

But M&T CEO Robert Wilmers put his dry wit to use this week.

Paul Durnan, a shareholder from Burlington, Ont., is often one of the only people – if not the only one – to ask a question of Wilmers when that opportunity comes up at the M&T meeting.

Durnan told Wilmers that last year, a Wall Street Journal reporter had called to ask his opinion about M&T’s deal for Hudson City Bancorp, which regulators delayed for years but finally approved.

“Maybe all of these questions along the way have sped up the merger?” Durnan said.

“I don’t know where we’d be without you,” Wilmers said.

Wilmers observed that Durnan has been asking questions at M&T’s meeting for 15 years, if not longer, and praised him as an “institution” at the meeting.

Not a bad compliment from someone who was named the bank’s CEO in 1983.

Polar plunge

Kali, a polar bear who lived at the Buffalo Zoo from May 2013 to April 2015, has become a viral sensation.

According to St. Louis Magazine, a St. Louis Zoo visitor did burpees (a more agile form of pushups) in front of the polar bear exhibit, and Kali was quick to catch on to the workout.

The orphaned male polar bear, now 3 years old, was originally saved by a hunter in Alaska before being sent to Buffalo to live with Luna, the current polar bear resident in Buffalo. A year ago, news broke that Kali would be transferred, via FedEx, to St. Louis. He seems to be faring well.

No word on how long Luna can hold her plank.

Off Main Street is written by Tiffany Lankes with contributions from Susan Schulman and Matt Glynn.