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Marketing Of The Presidential Race Continues, Nationally And Locally

JetBlue is hedging its bets on the presidential election.

The New York-based airline says it plans to give more than 1,000 free flights to raffle entrants who back the losing candidate in the Nov. 6 contest between President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney.

The company's promotion promises: "If things don't go your way, don't worry. Here's your chance to get a free flight out of the country." It's a round-trip ticket, by the way.

The airline also lets visitors to its website pick whom they want to win (although without ever using the words "Obama" or "Romney"). On Wednesday, its real-time results had the blue donkey at 54 percent and the red elephant at 46 percent.

Using the presidential race as a marketing ploy is nothing new, as we've noted before. For instance, the convenience store 7-Eleven has been running its coffee cup poll since the 2000 election; it says a majority of coffee drinkers sided with the eventual election winner in all three races since.

In a southern Minnesota town with a population of a little more than 16,000, the Hanisch Bakery & Coffee Shop claims to be even more prescient when it comes to the president.

The Hanisch Bakery in Red Wing has been serving political-themed cookies at least since the Ronald Reagan-Walter Mondale presidential race in 1984. This year's cookies are decorated with the names Obama (over blue icing) or Romney (over red icing).

And the bakery owner tells the Rochester Post-Bulletin the cookies are seven-for-seven, having mirrored election results in every presidential race since the Republican Reagan crushed the Democrat Mondale (the Minnesotan who won his home state, the District of Columbia and nothing else) in that 1984 contest.

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Rachel Wellford