March 1st, 2010
09:02 PM ET
4 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. sharong60

    I don't care if he eats cheeseburgers or smokes, as long as he is a good President, which he is!

    March 1, 2010 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  2. Stop the Spending

    Before the President tells me to by insurance, he should stop smoking. After all, he is adding to the preventable disease and costs of health care.

    March 1, 2010 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  3. george love

    pple Pie. As far as I'm concerned the secret service should carry for him, as they have other presidents. What is private for a president?

    March 1, 2010 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  4. Batnit

    I can't imagine how stressful that job is. Too be so persistent and stubborn in pushing his baby, the health bill, that he is unwilling to talk about what will really fix America: JOBS. People have income, they spend it in stores and it trickles down to everybody. It provides innovation and confidence in the next generation. Shoving a health bill that sends small business, the employer of 70% of America, running scared of its fines is just wrong. I work for the website Storyburn and the mess that lands on our doorstep is crazy bad. We have the most read home foreclosure story on the web and plenty of job hunting stories

    March 1, 2010 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  5. Biased

    I would just like the media and CNN to explain to me why a one page note from Obama's doctor saying he is basically healthy was good enough during the primaries yet 2000 pages of McCain's medical records were ridiculed because not enough time was given for the likes of Dr. Gupta and others to scrutinize? I know this is old news etc., but I have never found an answer as to why 1 page of "he is okay" is comparable to 2000 pages of actual records yet the outcry was over the 2000 pages. What are the media standards now for medical records?

    March 1, 2010 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  6. Deanna

    I don't care. There are more important things to worry about...unemployment and healthcare for starters.

    March 1, 2010 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  7. Jepeter Williamson

    Why Haitian get TPS They Can't travel from st.thomas to florida i would like to know why , and then they have to go in immigration every month to sign why i think that need to stop ,Janet Napolitano to talk to ICE in st.thomas because they do what they want ,they arrested Haitian people when they want that need to stop now , the immigration in st.thomas don't there to help people ,they just to arrested people that need to stop now ,we need freedom in st.thomas please to may it concern need to talk to the autority in st.thomas U.S.V.I ASAP they need help in st.thomas ( ICE ) need to stop arrassed Haitian people because they lost them family they don't have no place to go they have to stay here

    March 1, 2010 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  8. Joseph

    As the President of the United States, he should set an example to demonstrate that "YES, I CAN" slogan works even for a president. Unfortunately, Obama is always "do as I tell you to do, not what I do". An excellent example of "talk the talk and not walk the walk". No wonder so many people look up to the president and give up their efforts to quit smoking and smoking coke, because even the president is doing that.

    March 1, 2010 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  9. Minnesota gal

    I have cut out a lot of sweets because I have diabetis, but I would be sorely tempted if I could get Lemon merangue and cherry pie whenever I wanted it. These are my two favorite sweets. I have given up chocolate it tastes too sweet now. But I have to have those two pies ever now and then. So if I had a chef at my disposal I bet I would have them more than is good for me.

    March 1, 2010 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  10. Ohio Dem

    If you read the entire physical, the doctor also recommends that he drink alcohol in moderation. For "moderation" to be less, he has to be drinking heavily now. NOT a good role model. He needs to completely stop smoking and apparently stop whatever drinking problem he has as well. At least he isn't fat.

    March 1, 2010 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  11. janice

    Give him all the cheeseburgers he wants! He will find a way to manipulate and lie to get what he wants anyway. That is his way or no way. He probably lies about how much he eats or smokes but it is all about him regarding those things, it is when he does things that effect the people that we know , he really does not care, He got what he wanted, First Black President. He can go home now, and let someone who cares to serve the people do it!!!

    March 1, 2010 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  12. Gil Oberdas

    Gosh! Doesn't he sound like most of us?
    Nice to finally have a president that acts like one!

    March 1, 2010 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  13. Jim in Florida

    Gibbs is an idiot. The primary contributor to Obama's high cholestrol is most likely a mix of heredity and his smoking. Like my cadiologist told me before I quit smoking – it's not a matter of "if", it's "when" if you keep smoking.

    One would think Obama is taking a cholestrol lowering med also.

    As for Gibbs, it is highly unlikely that Obama's campaign diet is a direct contributor to his current levels of bad cholestrol.

    March 1, 2010 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  14. I WANT MINES

    spineless whimp cant stop smoking huh? man up and just put the drug down JUST SAY NO i quit a 3 pack a day habit or addiction actually and i dont want hear about all the stress in your life you are suppose to be the most powerful man in the world take control of your own life before trying to control ours lead by example

    March 1, 2010 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  15. Thank you Massachusetts

    The president makes it a point not to smoke in public or in front of his children as to not set a bad example? Oh, okay, we'll just pretend we don't know; then he'll be setting a good example, right? Hmmm.

    March 1, 2010 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  16. Bobby

    Anyone that smokes cannot have their health rated as "excellent". The doctors of these politicans are never going to report what is really true. Remember when Cheney's health was rated as "excellent" and about 2 months later he had his second heart attack? By smoking and having high bad col. BHO is actually a walking time bomb unless he acts quickly to reverse these bad habits. Smoking restricts arteries. High Col. blocks them. A bad combination.

    March 1, 2010 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  17. Willy Brown

    You are what you eat , drink & smoke.

    March 1, 2010 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  18. MJH

    Apparently Obama smokes in the White House. I work for the USG and they'd disipline or fire me if I were caught smoking in a government building. Is Obama above the law? What a lousy example!

    March 1, 2010 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    i dont understand how this helps his healthcare stuff

    95% cured from smoking?.....thats like being kinda pregnant

    March 1, 2010 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  20. A.B.

    Hopefully President Obama will cut down on cheese burgers and eat more healthy foods and cut out occasional smoking. If he does not, he could end up with heart problems like former President Bill Clinton. I also hope that First Lady Michelle Obama leans on Obama to eat healthy and quit smoking.

    March 1, 2010 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  21. J.P.

    Headline:
    "Obama indulges in pie, occasional cigarette, MY PAYCHECK"

    March 1, 2010 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  22. Emilie

    Come on, man, kick the last 5%. And to the person giving him the occasional cig - knock it off!

    March 1, 2010 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  23. Lilarose in Bandon, OR

    I quit a three-pack a day cig habit in 1980 after smoking from age 18 to 39.

    I quit cold turkey, I had a plan and it worked. I would be happy to share my plan with the prez, but he and I can't get together.

    It didn't cost me one cent, either. It took about four days with little stress.

    March 1, 2010 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  24. Just wondering

    Where was the media's coverage of these bad habits during the election? Because we all know they would have been all over McCain or Palin for having high cholesterol or smoking.

    March 1, 2010 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  25. moderate in montana

    Coffee or Tea with that pie?

    March 1, 2010 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
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