March 2nd, 2010
10:57 PM ET
8 years ago

'Don't tell Michelle,' Obama says


The president had Southern food in Georgia Tuesday and told reporters "Don't tell Michelle." (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

(CNN) – After his first presidential physical found an elevated cholesterol level, sweet tea and fried chicken are probably not what the doctor ordered. But that didn't stop President Obama from indulging in a lunch of Southern cuisine Tuesday in Savannah, Georgia, according to a pool report.

The president joked with reporters to keep quiet about his meal at Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room, a local restaurant whose menu includes macaroni and cheese, collard greens, fried chicken and biscuits, among other traditional Southern dishes.

"I don't want any lectures about my cholesterol," he said, according to the pool report. "Don't tell Michelle."

Obama's Southern meal comes two days after his annual checkup and a doctor's recommendation that he alter his eating habits in order to help reduce an elevated "bad" cholesterol level.

"Recommend dietary modification to reduce LDL cholesterol below 130," Dr. Jeff Kuhlman, a Navy captain and physician to the president wrote in his report. The report lists Obama's LDL level at 138.

The result of his first physical since taking office has put the president in a bit of an awkward position since first lady Michelle Obama recently launched a national campaign against childhood obesity last month. As part of her campaign the first lady is urging Americans to drink more water and eat smaller portions.

In the president's defense, the first lady didn't explicitly say anything about sweet tea.

Related: Obama indulges in pie, occasional cigarette, spokesman says

Filed under: Extra • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Erik

    Do as I say not as I do. Being a good role model for our youth does not include lying to your wife and hiding bad habits from her.

    March 2, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  2. Artie

    This site should be called ONN (Obama News Network)! Every breath and every utterance pops up here!

    March 2, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  3. Betty

    I am sure Michelle knows what a sneak her husband is. I am just amazed that Obama can be almost ruthless about passing a healthcare package (that was put together in secret by the 3 Muskateers in a locked room) when he is a smoker, I still say if they had given Obama at least a couple of smoke breaks during the big pow wow with the Pubs, then Obama would not have made an AS-
    out of himself with the uncalled for remarks he made to McCain and Alexander, Obama needs to learn that the American people are more than tired of his uncouth manners. Please let me wake up tomorrow and it be 2010!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Betty

    March 2, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  4. BOB

    Hey Obama, put down that food and check out the facts!
    A hernia operation at an American Hospital costs $17,000. But any American can fly to Canada and have the same operation at the world renown Shouldice Clinic in Toronto for only $3,400. However if you are a Canadian, it is FREE!!! How about a tripple heart bypass surgery that could bankrupt many American families. In Canada it's FREE.

    March 2, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  5. GI Joe

    You exercise, you eat healthy most of the time, all things in moderation.

    It's not like your eating those good ole boy fattening soul foods every day or even a few times a year.


    March 2, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  6. LoveThyNeighbor

    Go for it! Moderation is the key. We all cannot live on rice cakes and water alone. I was diagnosed with high cholesterol but, with moderation/exercise and watching your intake, it is OK to splurge once in a while! 🙂 Sam

    March 2, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  7. charlotte

    There are no such secrets, alas, Mr. President. If it winds up on the CNN ticker you can bet Michelle will hear about it. But if I were going to defeat my cholesterol diet I wouldn't waste it on fried chicken or macaroni and cheese, I'd go straight for the barbecued pork. No biscuits and gravy needed.

    March 2, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  8. pyalie

    Is this what passes for news? Honestly CNN...come on!

    March 2, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  9. Leila

    Love the pciture of our President have a meal with the old folks....

    March 2, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  10. libertyray

    Does anyone really care? Really...who really cares about this? The faster he clogs his arteries the better.

    March 2, 2010 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  11. cc

    President Obama and his wife should use this "joke" as an oppurtunity to address the major health concerns that "southern cooking" have lead to in the poor communities most affected by lack of preventative healthcare, and unify their two missions.

    Fact ;
    African Americans have a 30% greater chance of dying from heart disease than Caucasions.

    A slender, healthy, black man with access to the worlds best healthcare who STILL has high cholesterol ???

    President Obama's joke is not nearly as funny as we want it to be.

    March 2, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  12. Kel

    Really? Come on. The man’s in excellent shape. And his cholesterol level is barely elevated. It’s enough to be more careful, but not to cut out ocassional indulgent meals. Moderation, folks. From what I hear, his resting heart rate is in the 50s, maintains a healthy weight, and has excellent blood pressure. Like 1-0-something over 60 something. Seriously people, this is hardly anything newsworthy.

    I would be more worried if he hasn’t given up smoking, yet. It’s a nasty habit. I’ll tell you what, if I had to live in the same vicinity he would not be smoking. I’d make sure of that. Keep that revulsive crud away from me. If I lived with anyone who smoked I’d steal all of their cigarettes and throw them in the garbage where they belong. Of course, having asthma doesn’t help. If I wanted a death wish, then maybe I’d light up. I hope for his sake and his family’s that he has quit. Much more worrisome than slight elevated cholesterol.

    March 2, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  13. guest

    Then why are you puting this on the web on cnn she will find out.

    March 2, 2010 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  14. Shelly

    Goodness that looks good.... My great grandmother could fry chicken that would make Colonel Sanders jealous for the recipe.

    I think it is great the President has a healthy diet. He looks great.
    I am sure Michele will let the fried chicken and what looks like sweet potatoes (in the bowl) go this time. And if he needs a work out partner, I would volunteer!

    March 2, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  15. Steve Barnett

    I understand Mr. President. The pressure of dealing with the party of NO or NO WAY is hard enough but to have to give up life simple pleasures of a good southern meal is just too much. I believe anything in moderation should be OK. I have high cholesterol too, so I know how he feels.

    March 2, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  16. Debra from Georgia

    Now President Obama, you need to stop, I going to tell Michelle. Is there any banana pudding on the menu.

    March 2, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  17. OldUncleTom

    Cutting back is not the same as eliminating, but probably works better over the long run.

    Nothing makes treats more tempting than being forbidden.

    March 2, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  18. jules sand-perkins

    These public relations articles about our attractive and folksy First Couple are as related to important national events as a color spread about a soprano's diet program and concert gowns in Opera News.
    It's great PR for the naïve to enjoy, but good PR is expensive.
    Who pays for the President's PR?

    March 2, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  19. MJ

    Not surprising. Doesn't want the American public to know all the bull that goes on behind closed doors- why tell his wife.. Nice to know he can still enjoy his smokes and fried chicken.

    March 2, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  20. Jacqueline Patterson

    We love OBAMA! Eat your "Southern Cuisine!" You make us feel as though you really are a "human being!" We love you!

    March 2, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  21. surfin not working

    Doesn't smoking help to elevate cholesterol too – that must be a fun lecture at home

    March 2, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  22. Fooled Again

    Don't worry, the media won't tell Michele, heck they never told the American people that they knew Iraq never had weapons of mass destruction. Don't worry.

    March 2, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  23. leonardofru

    This really isn't funny. He appears to have the wit and soul of a Bolshevik elitist. Scares the ever living crap out of me.

    March 2, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  24. Who cares

    Must have been a slow day. who cares what he eats.

    March 2, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  25. Wayne Messer

    Mr. President,

    I want you to man-up and quit smoking. Do not tell me how hard it is. I've quit drink, and smoking and I did them both to excess.

    I however, do not have two lovely daughter to watch grow-up. You can not taper off. You have to go cold turkey and you know it.

    You'll never see this but, it is the closest I will ever get to a President.

    I just do not want your children and wife to be without their father or husband.

    I lost a mother to COPD and I know as do you what cigarettes can do.

    Now, trying talking to your daughters about not smoking. Think about it.

    March 2, 2010 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
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