Pizza Shop Owner Who Bear-Hugged Obama Facing Boycott Threats from Angry Republicans

Scott Van Duzer, the Florida pizza shop owner who brought smiles to the faces of many when he gave President Obama a feet-sweeping hug yesterday, told Politico that his business is facing boycott threats from individuals upset over the affection he showed POTUS.

"People are saying a lot of bad things and boycotting my restaurant," Van Duzer said. "There's no middle line anymore, and that's exactly what's wrong with our country right now."

Many Republicans took to Yelp to slam Van Duzer — who is himself a Republican — for having the gall to respect Obama. "Talk about committing business suicide," wrote one irate Arizonan Yelper wrote on the Big Apple Pizza & Pasta page. "After picking up Obama, your books are gonna be in the red pretty soon. Not too smart."

As Gather Politics contributor Reno Berkeley notes, most of the single-star reviews have since been removed from Yelp — replaced by a deluge of five-star reviews from supporters responding to the backlash.

Speaking with CNN's Wolf Blitzer this afternoon, Van Duzer, whose charity work in the blood donation arena was lauded by the president, explained what motivated him to extended Obama such an uplifting embrace.

"I guess I got caught up in the moment," he said. "I had a brief moment when I knew he was coming. He opened up the door and he was like, ‘Where's Scott at?' As soon as I saw him, he came right at me, shook my hand. I was so excited, I picked him up."

[photo via AP, video via AFP]