The woman who voted next to President Barack Obama on Monday says she was “embarrassed and just shocked,” after her fiancé jokingly told him “Mr. President, don’t touch my girlfriend.”
Casting his ballot in Chicago on Monday, Obama stood at a voting booth next to Aia Cooper, whose fiancé, Mike Jones, decided to crack wise with the president, which prompted Obama to reply with “I really wasn’t planning on it,” before adding that Jones was “an example of a brother just embarrassing you for no reason.”
In an interview with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin Tuesday afternoon, Cooper said she was “embarrassed and just shocked” after hearing her fiancé comments. “I was just shaking,” she said.
CNN reported that Obama “got back at Jones” when he finished voting, “with a hug and a kiss for his fiancée.”
“On the cheek, just the cheek — please, Michelle, don’t come after me — just the cheek!” Cooper told CNN affiliate WLS-TV after voting.
“Now, he’s really jealous,” Obama told Cooper.
All these years we thought ogling the women was supposed to be Joe Biden’s gig.
If this was just a one-off, we might be tempted to ignore it because ISIS is advancing, midterm elections are right around the corner, and everyone is stockpiling hand sanitizer and hazmat suits in the event of an Ebola outbreak in their area. But this wasn’t a one-off.
Which brings us to the second presidential kissing incident.
Last week when talking about the potential of an Ebola epidemic in the United States, President Obama tried to reassure the folks by saying that he had visited the hospital in Atlanta where Ebola patient Amber Vinson was being treated.
“I shook hands with, hugged, and kissed, not the doctors, but a couple of the nurses at Emory because of the valiant work that they did,” Obama said. “In treating one of the patients, they followed the protocols, they knew what they were doing, and I felt perfectly safe doing so.”
Before we move on to the kissing part, it’s worth mentioning that Obama was not actually at Emory when Amber Vincent was being treated there. In fact, he visited on September 16, a full 26 days after the second American missionary being treated for Ebola had been discharged from the hospital and nearly a week after any medical personnel who had treated her would have been at risk of contracting the deadly disease.
Besides the fact that Obama went out of his way to say that he kissed only the nurses and not the doctors (is that sexist or homophobic or both?), the whole notion of the president bragging about kissing people while talking about a deadly infectious virus seems not only ill-advised, but very strange.
Have you been to a hospital lately? Nobody should be kissing anybody there. Everywhere you look there are vats of hand sanitizer and warnings about washing hands and disinfection protocols. The places are crawling with germs — staph infections, MRSA, C. diff and, especially this time of year, the flu.
At the same time he is urging Americans to get their flu shots, the president is running around planting big, sloppy kisses on nurses (but thank goodness, not doctors!), random voters, and heaven knows what else.
I’m not generally a germaphobe (and tend to mock people who go overboard with the hand sanitizer bit), but after the so-called “Ebola scare” within a few miles of my home this past week (the number of area residents being monitored rose to 164 today), I admit that I looked at the unwrapped heads of cauliflower at the grocery store in a completely different light yesterday. The cauliflower and the rest of the fruits and veggies are just lying there, exposed, practically begging for someone to sneeze on them.
If I’m now wondering if someone has inadvertently deposited Ebola fluids onto the cauliflower at my local grocery store, you can bet I’m definitely not going to be kissing strangers any time soon — at least not without a current temperature reading and a certificate from the Department of Health that says that individual is certified Ebola-free. Even then, kissing strangers in hospitals is a bridge I won’t cross during this treacherous cold and flu and Ebola season.
I understand that President “Keep Calm and Carry On” is trying to prevent a national panic over Ebola. Our leaders do have a responsibility to put the scope of the risk in context and it is a fact that only one actual person in the United States has died from Ebola thus far, which does not a national epidemic make.
But is it too much to ask POTUS to keep his lips to himself at a time like this — when people are a little edgy about Ebola and we’re right on the cusp of flu season? Perhaps say a word or two about good hygiene and handwashing along the way? These presidential lip locks are not sending the right message.