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First Lady Brings Her Water War to Wisconsin Town With Two Soda Distributors


Michelle Obama launched her Drink Up campaign in a city with the best water in Wisconsin - but also home to two soft distributors that employs locals.

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama has campaigned against childhood obesity. Photo Credt: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Commentary on Watchdog.org provided by M.D. Kittle of The Wisconsin Reporter, who can be contacted at M.D. Kittle at mkittle@wisconsinreporter.com.

The nation’s self-appointed Water czar dropped by Watertown, Wis. Thursday afternoon to extol the virtues of hydration.

The first lady was joined by the Partnership for a Healthier America, “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria and members of the carbonated beverage industry, among others, at Watertown High School in Wisconsin this afternoon.

Mrs. Obama rolled out her national “Drink Up” campaign to urge a water-deprived, morbidly obese America to drink more agua.

Press handlers on Wednesday devoted nearly 45 minutes to this pressing topic in a sycophant’s ball of a press conference.

There is so much more they can do to stop America from being so damn fat, the water warriors assert. There’s a lot of momentum in the war on obesity, and they intend to harness that energy to launch the “Drink Up” campaign.

They hit a mostly fawning press with the ugly numbers.

• More than 40 percent of Americans drink less than half of the recommended amount of water daily.

• 7 percent don’t drink any water.

• 25 percent of children under 19 are drinking no water.

Michelle Obama, in a statement released Thursday, said she’s simply trying to build on her Let’s Move! initiative to find as many ways as possible to “help families and kids lead healthier lives.”

The first lady isn’t just talking the talk, assured Sam Kass, executive director of Let’s Move!

“She is a water drinker from morning ‘til night,” Kass boasted Wednesday, while acknowledging he doesn’t know exactly how many glasses of water Mrs. O. drinks a day.

The first lady’s trip has raised some eyebrows in this southern Wisconsin community of 24,000 residents on the Rock River. Watertown was not only voted to have the best water in the state two years running, it is the home to two soft drink distributors.

Obesity crusaders have not been kind to soda peddlers, and there is some feeling in Watertown that the first lady’s water campaign is an assault on an industry that does much to support the community.

Partnership for a Healthier America people assure that isn’t the case.

“The reason we chose Watertown is the first lady will be calling on every city in America to make their town a water town,” Kass said at the press conference.

Sources say the water campaign and the U.S. beverage industry agreed to play nice at this particular photo-op, and the first lady and her water warriors will focus on the positives.

A reporter from Time, noting clinical studies on the impact of sugary drinks on the body’s metabolism, asked the water patrol why they won’t be emphasizing the benefits of drinking water over soda and other sweet beverages.

Kass answered that it’s all about staying positive, moving forward and leading with a visionary campaign to inspire people to drink more water, with people responding to the positive messages — or some such saccharine response.

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