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Obama lipstick on collar: Who put it there? (+video)

Obama lipstick on collar happened at a celebration for Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The president referred to the smear in his remarks at the event Tuesday night.

By Staff Writer / May 29, 2013

President Obama points to lipstick marks on his collar in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday night. 'A sign of the warmth is the lipstick on my collar,' he said.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

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Why did President Obama have lipstick on his collar when he rose to make remarks at a White House reception Tuesday night?

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Washington Editor

Peter Grier is The Christian Science Monitor's Washington editor. In this capacity, he helps direct coverage for the paper on most news events in the nation's capital.

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President Obama explains where lipstick on his collar came from.

Because an enthusiastic supporter had put it there accidentally, that’s why. He referred to that right up top as his way of softening up the crowd. Truth be told, he was already pretty happy to be there, as it was a celebration for Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Having been raised in Hawaii, Mr. Obama is something of a Pacific Islander himself.

Anyway, the president began by thanking everybody for the warmth of his reception.

“A sign of the warmth is the lipstick on my collar,” he said.

Then he said he knew the culprit, and he asked to see a woman named Jessica Sanchez.

“It wasn’t Jessica. It was her aunt. Where is she?” he said as the room dissolved in laughter.

Obama then made the obvious point that he did not want to get in trouble with the first lady on this.

“That’s why I’m calling you out right in front of everybody,” he said to the aunt in question.

The president had to say something about the smear, right? It was a pretty obvious lip imprint, right up there near his necktie. It was going to show up in pictures and become the subject of a thousand gossip blogs.

If Obama’s reelection campaign showed anything, it is that he and his advisers understand the power of nontraditional media and their ability to shape the president’s image. All those appearances by him and Michelle on everything from “The View” to “Dr. Oz” were a big part of his campaign strategy. A lipstick smear? That’s good for a week of special reports on “Ellen.” Reddit would probably have done another of its crowd-source analysis things, measuring the parameters of the smear and then comparing them to pictures of lips in the crowd, eventually proving beyond a doubt that it could only have come from Joe Biden, or something like that.

Of course we’ve got our own conspiracy theory: Political guru David Axelrod had somebody put it there on purpose. A speechwriter then scripted impromptu remarks on the stain for Obama, loosening up the crowd and distracting the news media from the IRS scandal, Justice-ordered seizure of reporters' phone records, and so forth.

If so, this post is proof: mission accomplished.

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