"Thank you for feeling the Bern!" Jerry Greenfield yelled Wednesday to the lunch-hour line of people waiting for ice cream in Rittenhouse Square. The flavor of the day: "Bernie's Yearning," served by workers from a nearby Ben & Jerry's.
And yes, that Jerry - Jerry Greenfield, along with Ben Cohen. The chain's founders were staging what they've dubbed a "Political Revolution Ice Cream Social" on the corner of the square to help the presidential candidacy of a fellow Vermonter, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Rapper Freeway, a North Philly native, also pitched in for Sanders, hyping up the crowd at a rally Wednesday evening at Lincoln University.
Cohen and Greenfield said they'd never before campaigned for a presidential candidate, but have been Sanders constituents for 30 years. "He is unwavering in his support of everyday Americans," Greenfield announced to the attendees.
The limited-edition flavor "Bernie's Yearning" consists of vanilla ice cream with a disc of chocolate chips on top. The ice cream is supposed to represent the concentration of wealth among the richest 1 percent of Americans - "leaving nothing for the rest down at the bottom," Cohen said.
Cohen, who said he woke up one morning with the idea of the "participatory sundae," said the consumer is supposed to break apart the disc and "redistribute it into the ice cream" - just as Sanders vows to redistribute wealth.
Cohen and Greenfield have campaigned for Sanders with their specialty ice cream flavor in eight states thus far. Along with that experience, the two men now have arrest records: They were among 300 people arrested Monday at a Capitol Hill sit-in called "Democracy Awakening," a protest over climate change, workers' rights and other issues.
Not that Ben or Jerry are in the 99 percent: The partners sold their company for $325 million in 2000 to the multinational food giant Unilever. They say they have always been happy to pay their fair share of taxes. "There is supposed to be fairness and equality," Greenfield said. "The rich corporations aren't supposed to be privileged."
Liz Mednick, 59, of Center City, came by to say hi to Cohen and Greenfield, and to support the cause. "The young people want Bernie, so they should have Bernie," she said.
Others in line for sundaes pointed out that next Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary could have a bigger influence on the nominating process than in many previous elections.
"There's a shot Bernie can win the primary," said Sarah O'Neil, 33, of Center City, who works for a travel company. She plans to vote for him next week over Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, widely seen as the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.
"Pennsylvania can make the difference between Bernie winning and not winning," Cohen said.