Bear-hugging POTUS: check. Bear-hugging your favorite journalist: double check.
As we called it, Anderson Cooper was next in line for one of Scott Van Duzer's now famous bear hugs, when the jovial Florida pizzeria owner appeared on "Anderson Live" Tuesday.
When Van Duzer appeared on the set with arms wide open, a hesitant Cooper stopped dead in his tracks, tried to wave him off, repeatedly mouthing "no," then futilely extended his hand for a handshake.
An unrelenting Van Duzer said, "We can do it the easy way or the hard way," after which Cooper finally submitted. The power-hugging Van Duzer then lifted Cooper off the ground, probably even a few inches higher than he had lifted President Obama on Sunday.
Van Duzer told Cooper, reportedly his favorite journalist, that Obama "was just a stepping stone to get to you."
While the Cooper hug was premeditated, Van Duzer maintains that he got caught up in the moment and couldn't resist spontaneously hugging Obama when the president stopped by Van Duzer's Big Apple Pizza on a campaign visit. "He came to my front door and busted it open like Chuck Norris and he goes, 'Where's Scott?'" Van Duzer explained of the president's appearance.
When Cooper called the subsequent conservative backlash against Fort Pierce, Fla.-based Big Apple Pizza "just crazy," Van Duzer, who is a registered Republican, replied, "They say Obama is bad for small business, but now here the Republicans want to run this small business out."
Go to the "Anderson Live" site to find out when the segment airs in your city, and watch the video above.