The PJ Tatler

Our President Can Walk and Chew (Nicotine) Gum at the Same Time

President Obama was caught on camera chewing gum again. It’s either the president has this “man of the people,” working-class hero thing going, showing us what a regular guy he is (net worth: $12.2 million), or he gets major-league nic fits and can’t wait an hour or two until he can find a little more private space to either light up or chew his Nicorette.

Is Barack Obama a pack-a-day smoker? My expert analysis (I’ve been smoking for 45 years) of the president’s behavior indicates someone who is not “nicotine free” as his spokesman claims. If he was, he wouldn’t need a smoking-cessation aid at this point.

Obama emerged from his car chomping away on the gum. Couldn’t he have grabbed a quick butt in his armored car? That would have carried him over until the parade was over. Of course, he may be smoking on the sly, trying to keep his wife from knowing about his backsliding. But any non-smoker who lives with a smoker knows if their spouse has smoked in the last 24 hours. That smell just doesn’t go away.

So why try to fool the rest of us?

Times of India:

American media in past has commented about Obama’s habit of chewing gum while referring to his medical report, according to which the US president was in excellent health except for a minor problem of “history of smoking”.

But Obama was now “tobacco free” buoyed by the “occasional use” of “nicotine gum”, said a report in Washington Post.

I call bullcrap on that. Anyone who can’t go 2 or 3 hours without a nicotine crutch is still smoking. I guess we wouldn’t expect Obama to pull out a pack of Marlboro’s and light up in the middle of a formal ceremony — especially after he’s told the world he’s an ex-smoker. Besides, the last president to light up at formal gettogethers was Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was never photographed without his elegant cigarette holder jammed between his teeth. LBJ smoked like a chimney but was rarely photographed doing so. Kennedy smoked cigarettes in private, but didn’t mind being photographed smoking a good cigar. There were several presidents who quit cigarette smoking before becoming president, including Eisenhower, Reagan, and George W. Bush.

So the question isn’t whether or not President Obama should light up in public. No one would approve of that. The question most of us are asking is, it any better to be seen chomping away on gum to assuage the pangs of nicotine withdrawal?

Some in India are asking the same question:

In an ungainly sight, cameras caught US President Brack Obama chewing gum during the Republic Day parade on Monday.

In the picture captured by cameras and posted on Twitter by some users, Obama was spotted removing his chewing gum while PM Modi was seen trying to explain something to the US president.

However, this is not the first time that Obama has been spotted chewing gum during an important function. Though there was a lot of commentary on social media on his chewing gum at a formal ceremony.

Comments on Twitter included remarks by author Shobhaa De, who said, “Barack bhai working his jaws overtime and chewing gum! At least it isn’t gutka. But seriously – gum during a formal parade?”.

“Glad to see @BarackObama is so human. Like most Americans, he chews gum. Anyone know what brand?,” was how noted film-maker Shekhar Kapur reacted.

I sympathize with the president. Long airplane flights can be agony for me, so I feel his pain. But really, this is the president of the United States. He’s supposed to be better than the rest of us. It is a mystery to me why he can’t forgo the nicotine gum for a few hours while representing the majesty and dignity of his office, as well as the people of the U.S.

Otherwise, he demeans the presidency and makes the rest of us look like a bunch of ill-mannered louts.