Chicago Sun-Times
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Obama admits he still smokes at times but "I don't do it in front of my family"


WASHINGTON--President Obama at first tried to deflect some specific questions about his smoking habits on Tuesday, protesting the focus should be more on Obama's signing of anti-smoking legislation.

Then he relented, saying he realized his struggle was a "human interest" story. He's only "95 percent" quit and, comparing himself to alcoholics who attend life long AA meetings, said there was no permanent cure. "Once you've gone down this path, then you know, it's something you continually struggle with," Obama said.

Obama, at his fourth press conference gave his most detailed answer since his election on his struggle to quit smoking. In order to win her support for his presidential bid, Obama agreed to Michelle Obama's demand that he quit smoking if he got in the race.

A smoker since a teen Obama was asked, 'How many cigarettes a day do you now smoke? Do you smoke alone or in the presence of other people? And do you believe the new law would help you to quite? If so, why?"

Replied Obama to McClatchy reporter Margaret Talev, "Well, the -- first of all, the new law that was put in place is not about me. It's about the next generation of kids coming up. So I think it's fair, Margaret, to just say that you just think it's neat to ask me about my smoking, as opposed to it being relevant to my new law. But that's fine. I understand. It's a interesting human -- it's a interesting human-interest story.

"Look, I've said before that as a former smoker, I constantly struggle with it. Have I fallen off the wagon sometimes? Yes. The -- am I a daily smoker, a constant smoker? No. I don't do it in front of my kids. I don't do it in front of my family. And you know, I would say that I am 95 percent cured. But there are times where -- there are times where I mess up. And I mean, I've said this before.

"I get this question about once every month or so. And you know, I don't know what to tell you, other than the fact that, you know, like folks who go to AA, you know, once you've gone down this path, then you know, it's something you continually struggle with, which is precisely why the legislation we signed was so important, because what we don't want is kids going down that path in the first place," Obama said.


It's just too bad he isn't a 95% cured narcotics user. Perhaps then we could get some legislation signed to effectively protect the borders and stem the flow of illegal drugs coming into the country. Also, for someone who is supposed to be such a wizard of word smithing you would think he would know when to use "an" instead of "a".


This is obviously a hastily written article, as evidenced by multiple typos and word omissions. So why don't you keep your snide grammatical remarks to yourself?

This is a fine time for somebody to invoke the late Cub Koda's (Brownsville Station) great hit Smokin' In The Boys' Room.


Those silly little quotation marks tend to differ with your opinion Raj. I'm pretty sure Ms. Sweet is competent enough to understand and implement their usage. Sorry, I won't be hushed. No more pouting now.

Oh, it was ok to make comments on President Bush's mistakes but not President Obama's?
Also, what happened to freedom of speech? The last time I checked Jerry doesn't have to keep his remarks to himself.

At least we have a guy who admits he used drug as a young man and still struggles with smoking. Smoking is a nasty habit, no question about that, but you gotta give it to this guy for his honesty. I have never heard Bush admit publicly, without obfuscation, to his former drinking and cocaine habit as a youth. Also, Clinton claimed to have smoked but not inhale. Yeah, right.

He could have easily said my smoking or not smoking has nothing to do with the legislation and ended it there but he didn't. It's refreshing to see some honesty from a politician.

The journalist would probably have saved herself a lot of the nonsense by just asking him whether he still smokes rather than try to be clever which he called her on. I thought perhaps a question about Iraq, Afghanistan, or Pakistan where there are folks who are still actively seeking to kill us would have been a more important question. But then again, what do I know.

well, maybe we should ask does the oba smoke biddis? does he get 'em from up on devon ave?
does he smoke in front of the teleprompter? while walking 'bo'? in front of valerie? axe?lol..hell, the only thing i really wanna know is what did he sneak a square with carla bruni. now that's news...that's what i'm talkin' about!

I think that he is doing wonderful as the President of these United States with his smoking. From reading many of the post of the web filled with pure hatred for this man, he could probably use a cigarette every now and then. If I had to replace him in any form i would probably smoke 4 packs a day with the whining and moaning about every little thing like many Americans do today, especially the ones who don't want him in this lead position. My hat's off to him. What a man!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on June 23, 2009 2:16 PM.

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