Granny Snob, a woman who has fought poverty, stroke and cancer to remain the quick witted, incredible woman she is today, is a nearly pack-a-day smoker. While visiting us this weekend, a house filled with non-smokers, she got her smoke on in our basement and out on the patio with regularity. No one likes that she smokes. Everyone would love it if she quit (especially after beating back a stroke AND cancer), but she refuses.
She is also 81-years-old and honestly doesn’t give a crap what we think. Pass that lady her lighter and her Winstons!
While I don’t know if the president smokes Winstons (And goodness, I hope not. Those are some cragnasty ciggies.) I’m pretty sure if he asked nicely enough, Granny Snob would let him bum one of her cancer sticks. And she doesn’t share those things with ANYONE. But he is the president.
That said, why do reporters treat the president’s smoking like some tawdry secret? Everyone knows that he was a smoker. Everyone knows that he is trying to quit and that quitting is the hardest part. Everyone knows that cigarettes are bad for you, but what is up with this?
MCCLATCHY: Thank you, Mr. President. As a former smoker, I understand the frustration and the fear that comes with quitting, but with the new law that you signed yesterday regulating the tobacco industry, I would like to ask you a few questions, how many cigarettes a day —
OBAMA: A few questions?
MCCLATCHY: Well — how many cigarettes a day do you smoke? Do you smoke alone or in the presence of other people? And do you believe the new law would help you to quit and why?
OBAMA: Well, first of all the new law that was put in place is not about me, it’s about the next generation of kids coming up. So I think it’s fair, Margaret, to just say that you just think it’s neat to ask me about my smoking as opposed to if — being relevant to my new law. But that’s fine. I understand. It’s an interesting human interest story. Look. I’ve said before that as a former smoker, I constantly struggle with it. Have I fallen off the wagon sometimes? Yes. Am I a daily smoker, a constant smoker? No. I don’t do it in front of my kids. I don’t do it in front of my family. You know, I would say that I am 95 percent cured, but there are times where — there are times when I mess up. And I’ve said this before. I get this question about once every month or so. And I don’t know what to tell you other than the fact that, you know, like folks who go to AA, you know, once you’ve gone down this path, then it’s something you continually struggle with. Which is precisely why the legislation we signed was so important. Because what we don’t want is kids going down that path in the first place. Okay?
I guess that’s a legitimate question. But, really? That’s what they wanted to talk about? The economy is collapsing, we have two wars, Tehran is on fire, health care costs are rising, North Korea keeps talking about blowing up frickin’ Hawaii, wackadoodles are plotting assassination, terrorists are terrorizing and the BEST you can come up with is “how many cigarettes a day do you smoke?” Who the hell cares? If he can get me decent health care I will BUY the president cartons of cigarettes (The good kind. Not Winstons.) and throw him a “Smoke Your Good Health Away” party. Priorities, people!
Jason Linkins of Huffington Post scoffed at the whole drama and the press corps penchant for asking the occasional “WTF” question:
The arc of the Washington press corps is long. But let’s face it, it bends toward occasionally asking some stupid questions. Like about Alex Rodriguez. And about stuff that “humbles” and “enchants” President Barack Obama about being the President, and living in a “white” “house” with an “oval” “office” and Joe Biden. And today, the prize for “Are You Really Going To Use Your One Chance To Ask The President A Question On THAT Topic” goes to McClatchey for newspapers for (asking about the president’s smoking).
Is there some poll showing that people care that the president smokes? Is this about him being a role model? Is this about how smokers have been demonized for their lung poisoning ways? What is it? Are they afraid children who take up smoking will argue, “Well, the president does it!” while hoisting a pack of Menthols? Hate smoking, not the smokers. Not that my grandmother would care. She’s 81. If you hate her for smoking she will tell you where to go and how fast to get there. Maybe she should be press secretary.
Or, judged by her notoriety for dropping the occasional, Southern-accented “shhhhhhiiiiiit” at the end of sentences while holding a cup of coffee, smoking that ciggie, maybe not, but it would make great TV.
MCCLATCHY: I would like to ask a question about the president’s smoking?
GRANNY SNOB: What?!
MCCLATCHY: The president’s smoking?
GRANNY SNOB: Would ya’ll shut up, please, and let that BLACK DUDE smoke! My heavenly father! You white folks know you are crazy! Next question! Shhhhhhhhiiiiiiiittt.