March 2nd, 2010
05:06 AM 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: President Obama • White House
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