Friday, April 04, 2008

Obama Misled On Giving Up Smoking

Sen. Barack Obama is a long-time smoker who gave up the bad habit a little more than a year ago. At least that's been Obama's official story until he admitted otherwise to Chris Matthews. ABC's Jack Tapper feels a bit misled by the Obama campaign. He writes at Political Punch how he confronted Obama's people about the smoking claim after he smelled cigarettes on him last August and was assured Obama no longer smoked:

Last August, I ran into Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, outside the Senate chamber in the Capitol.This was before the Obama surge, before he had omnipresent Secret Service agents, back when you might see him strolling solo.

We chatted for a second, mainly about the Pakistan speech he'd recently given and about how the media had covered it. He was in good spirits.As any close friend or family member can attest, I have an unusually keen sense of smell and immediately I smelled cigarette smoke on Obama. Frankly, he reeked of cigarettes.

Obama ran off before I could ask him if he'd just snuck a smoke, so I called his campaign.They denied it. He'd quit months before, in February, they insisted. He
chewed nicorette.But I knew what I'd smelled and I asked his campaign to double-check and to ask him if he'd had a cigarette.

They reported back that he had told them he hadn't had a cigarette since he quit.And maybe that was true. Maybe I imagined the cigarette smoke. My olfactory nerve somehow misfired.

Except….last night on MSNBC's Hardball, Obama admitted that his attempt to wean himself from the vile tobacco weed had not been entirely successful.“I fell off the wagon a couple times during the course of it, and then was able to get back on," he said. "But it is a struggle like everything else.”

Tapper concedes the smoking fib isn't big in the scheme of things, but he's still bothered that he was not told the truth by Obama. My question is why would Obama even bother to lie about something so seemingly trivial as whether he smokes or not? It's not like he was breaking the law. Did a pollster tell Obama he would be perceived less positively if the American people knew he smoked? This doesn't seem to be an isolated incident of deception on Obama's part either. Obama's pretense that he knew nothing about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's controversial views until recently was hardly believable. For years he has inflated his resume with the claim that he was a law professor, and he completely fabricated a story about the Kennedy family paying to bring his father to America. If a candidate for president is willing to lie about such trivial matters, how are we to believe him on more important matters? Hat tip to BigHeadDC.

In other presidential news, there's another poll out for Indiana's Democratic presidential primary and it offers more good news for Hillary Clinton. The results of an ARG poll mirror the results of a SurveyUSA poll taken earlier this week. ARG finds Clinton leading Obama by a 9-point, 53%-44% margin with only 2% undecided.

Obama got some good earned media during a town hall appearance at Wayne High School in Fort Wayne today where he paid tribute to slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Journal-Gazette estimated the crowd size at 2,800. You can read the full text of Obama's speech here.


Bart Lies said...

Smoking gives such a deep, commanding tone to one's voice. At least until the raspy hoarseness kicks in at middle age.

DMC said...

You've got to be shitting me that this merits a post, much less consternation. As a smoker who has tried to quit numerous times, I'll be the first to tell you that you're not rapidly going to admit that I had a cigarette when I had "quit".

Can't Obama be held to the same standards any of us would be?

Garth A Brazelton said...

I agree with DMC, your post is a big stretch. Oh and you must have missed the fact that Obama WAS a professor that taught Law. The school even wrote a letter stating as such. I'm considered a professor too even though I'm part time and teach one class. It's a matter of semantics, not lies. But what you are doing is a matter of stretching reality and showing your biases.

Unknown said...

Damn Gary, you have found the smoking gun. Why this will bring Obama down. Yeah sure.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

If he routinely lies about a little thing like this, what else would he lie about? How about someone named Sinclair?
But then, I forget...if you're a democrat, you are allowed to lie to reach your goal.

Anonymous said...

During his interview on Hardball with Chris Mathews, he admitted that he had a hard time quiting and that he dropped the ball several times. I think the only person who is consistently misleading anyone is you Gary.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I take it you believe ABC's Jack Tapper is misleading as well, tarrandwooley?

Christopher Hodapp said...

He lied about it because smokers are equated with war criminals and child molesters these days in the nanny state. Being tarred with the label "smoker" tarnishes his image of a Virgin Birth and sainted anointment as the New Born King.