March 1st, 2010
09:02 PM ET
8 years ago

Spokesman: Obama indulges in pie, occasional cigarette

A White House spokesman mentioned cheeseburgers as one possible reason for President Obama's elevated cholesterol level which was found Sunday in his first physical since taking office.

A White House spokesman mentioned cheeseburgers as one possible reason for President Obama's elevated cholesterol level which was found Sunday in his first physical since taking office.

Washington (CNN) - After President Barack Obama's doctor gave him a "clean bill of health" over the weekend - with a recommendation to lower his cholesterol and continue to try to quit smoking - the White House was flooded Monday with questions about the president's habits and health.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs blamed Obama's elevated cholesterol level on a less-than-ideal diet he ate during the course of the campaign.

"I think he would be also the first to tell you that he has probably had a few more cheeseburgers and I think he would admittedly tell you he's had more desserts in the last year than I've seen him eat prior to this," Gibbs said.

He also said, now as president, Obama enjoys a White House kitchen and chef, completely at his disposal.

"I think most people will tell you that if it's available you're more likely to eat it. And I think he's had more access to sweets and desserts in the past year than he - look, those guys make good desserts over there and I think he's on more than one occasion sampled more than he needed to," Gibbs said.

The president's eating habits are not as healthy as people believe, Gibbs said.

He joked, "All you guys think he eats carrots and celery - and there's more cheeseburgers, fries and pie than you previously knew. You guys thought he, like, carried arugula in his pocket to snack on, and now all of a sudden he's ... breaking into my office looking for quarters for the vending machines."

When Gibbs was asked whether the White House pastry chef had been given a mandate by the first lady to cut down on giving her husband sweets, Gibbs joked, "the president loves the pastry chef." Michelle Obama has made fighting childhood obesity her signature issue.

As for the president's smoking, Gibbs said Obama continues to chew nicotine gum, and "occasionally falls off the wagon when it comes to that - like many who have struggled with kicking that habit."

Gibbs said he did not know who the president "bums smokes from" but that he "struggles" fighting "the addiction ... each and every day."

The president makes it a point not to smoke in front of his children or in public, as to not set a bad example, the White House spokesman added.

Obama still believes he's "95 percent cured" from his smoking habit, Gibbs said.

"The president understands that his health is more than just something that should be of concern to him and those that know and love him, but that his health is important based on the responsibility that the American people gave him in the election," Gibbs added.

Filed under: Extra • Popular Posts • President Obama • White House
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Bob in Ohio

    I don't see anything reported here abiout his smoking!

    March 1, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  2. CB

    The president smokes and he thinks he has credibility when it comes to healthcare reform! He’s a joke!

    March 1, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  3. midwest liberal

    If the president says he believes he's 95% cured of his smoking addiction, then the president is living in fantasy land, and his response is nothing more than a crutch to fall back on when he gives in to his craving. It is a very hard habit to break. It took me 6 tries before I finally stopped, and I used the same reasoning that he's using. "Yeah, I've stopped, except for that 5% of the time when I do." There is no such thing as an occasional smoker. To be an occasional smoker is like saying you're sort of pregnant. You either are or your aren't. C'mon Mr. President, you can do it! Set an example.

    March 1, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  4. I'm a Democrat and I can't stop hating

    Did the president give the doctor the finger?
    Oh that's right you have to be a Republican.

    March 1, 2010 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  5. Jenn, Philadelphia

    Are you sure his high cholesterol and smoking habit aren't George Bush's fault?

    March 1, 2010 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  6. JoJo

    I am glad it wasn't me that was concern about his habits.

    March 1, 2010 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  7. Peter s

    Mr. President you want to quit smoking? Please, do the following (a)make a definite day when to quit (b). The day you quit visit your dentist and tell him to clean your teeth super clean!, this helps by removing the old nicotine stuck behind the teeth which causes cravings after having breakfast, lunch or dinner. (c) Use nicorrete gums! and dont just chew them! chew aliitle bit then use the tongue to place the gum above the gums and below while the mouthed closed. (d) After using the gum for 3-4 weeks visit your dentist again and wash the teeth again after that! I'm sure you will never smoke again!!!!

    March 1, 2010 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  8. Rose

    I am a smoker. It is an addiction and I do not believe one word of what he says regarding his smoking. He either is a smoker or he is not and HE ADMITS HE IS. There is NO half way and certainly NO 95% cured. An addiction is not curable, if you take one drag you have fallen off the wagon (same as if you were an alcoholic) and are again addicted. This man is a liar!

    March 1, 2010 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  9. William

    These clowns can't even be honest about the President's smoking.
    "Obama still believes he's "95 percent cured" from his smoking habit, Gibbs said."
    At least the President's smoking has created or saved 2 million jobs.

    March 1, 2010 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |

    Does he also booze it up and lie to the American public??

    March 1, 2010 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  11. Andy

    Am I suppose to care about what Obama eats? I would rather hear news about him doing something for the job market.His eating habits does not concern me.

    March 1, 2010 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  12. Keith in Austin

    Who cares

    March 1, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  13. Slider

    In November, he can add crow to his menu...

    March 1, 2010 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  14. Ryan

    If I had to deal with Republicans, I'd be a total alcoholic. So I'm amazed where the President finds the strength!

    March 1, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |

    Great journalism, CNN.

    March 1, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |

    I cannot wait to know the frequency of the President's bowel movements!

    March 1, 2010 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  17. tess

    as a former smoker who stopped cold turkey this is just one more example of his hypocrisy!! he can do whatever he wants, you just have to do what he wants you to do too – what a complete narcissitic fraud! UHG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 1, 2010 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  18. JES

    Great example for our children keep smoking just shows how weak of a person you are.

    March 1, 2010 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  19. fhwilson199

    so let's get this straight! OBama can now eat bettter because he is on government welfare in the White House.

    close the white house, send the family home.

    presidents from now on live in a one bedroom condo
    and get NO retirement pay.

    let them honest jobs like clerking at a 7-11.

    March 1, 2010 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  20. rachel

    Dear Obama you and your smoking habit are making our healthcare costs go up please stop. Tax payers don't want to pay for the health problems your smoking will eventually bring.

    March 1, 2010 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  21. Annie, Atlanta

    OMG – you mean he's only human? How can this be?

    March 1, 2010 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  22. Sheila C. Clarke

    President Obama, I love you and would like to see you
    give away your daughters on their wedding day.
    I feel you are doing an outstanding job -s one
    nominee for the environment said you took the Titanic
    and saved it from sinking – great analogy – state of
    America in 2008.

    Are you and the First Lady still having date nights
    Disturbing news about you and the first lady –
    That you are having an affair with Oprah Winfrey and the real
    reason that Desiree Rogers left is that you two were having
    intimate relations. I read this in one of the tabloids.
    The credibility of these newspapers are a little shaky.

    March 1, 2010 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  23. southern girl

    As a smoker embarrassed by my inability to put down the habit, I empathize with Obama. I blame my inability to stop on stress at work...should be a good enough excuse for him! On top of that, a diet of southern fried food and pie does a soul good, high cholesterol or not!

    March 1, 2010 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  24. Charlie in Maine

    If I had to put up with those idiot Republicans in the Senate I think I would chain smoke and weigh about 450 lbs.
    Cut the guy a break.

    March 1, 2010 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  25. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Come on boss...kick that nasty habit.

    March 1, 2010 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
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