Scott Walker braves the Philadelphia cheesesteak minefield

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker visited two storied Philadelphia cheesesteak restaurants on Tuesday, and he confronted a question that has bedeviled presidential candidates for years: What kind of cheese should I order on my sandwich?

During his trip to Pat's and Geno's -- establishments across the street from one another whose rivalry dates back decades -- Walker opted for American cheese.

Depending on whom you ask, that was a big party foul. Some people believe liquid Cheez Whiz is the only appropriate accompaniment for a cheesesteak. It's certainly the safe political choice: presidential candidates like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have ordered their sandwiches with Cheez Whiz, and nobody raised an objection.

But there's some evidence the insistence on Cheez Whiz is more of an urban legend than an actual Philadelphia tradition. "To be honest with you, I've never eaten Cheez Whiz, and I'm the owner," Geno's owner Joey Vento told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2008. "We always recommend the provolone...That's the real cheese."

A poll taken by the Inquirer at the time asked readers what kind of cheese belongs on a cheesesteak, and Cheez Whiz actually finished third, behind American, in first, and Provolone.

Still, Pat's and Geno's both admit Cheez Whiz reigns supreme among their customers. So whether Walker erred by ordering American seems to be an open question.

One thing's for certain, though: Walker certainly chose more wisely than 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry, who ordered swiss cheese during a trip to the restaurants, exposing himself to endless ridicule from people who care about things like that.