Obama admits he hasn't totally kicked the cigarette habit

Jake Turcotte

Say what you will about Barack Obama, but one thing is for sure: He's not a quitter.

Normally, that's a good thing. You'd equate not quitting with never giving up and then all of those emotionally-laden speeches come to mind on the topic of sticking to it, never quitting, and going for your dreams.

Never give up

Like Bluto's inspiring speech imploring his brothers to keep up the fight against Dean Wormer:

"Over? Did you say 'over'? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? "

Just say no

But in this case not quitting is not that inspiring. It's Obama's cigarette habit. He hasn't entirely kicked it.

And leave it to veteran newsman Tom Brokaw to get the scoop.

Yesterday on Meet the Press, Obama was asked about the much discussed but rarely seen habit.

Brokaw accused Obama of dodging the question when asked about it last month by Barbara Walters. To which Obama stammered out a response.

"You know, I have, but what I said was that, you know, there are times where I've fallen off the wagon. Well..."


Like a coiled rattlesnake, Brokaw snapped.

"Well, wait a minute," Brokaw said. "Then that means you haven't stopped."

Caught. Red-handed. Toast.

A reluctant Obama waved the white flag.

"Well, fair enough," he said. "What I would say is, is that I have done a terrific job under the circumstances of making myself much healthier, and I think that you will not see any violations of these rules in the White House."

Rules, rules, rules

The rules about smoking in the White House? Not allowed. If he has a craving in the Oval Office, looks like he'll have to step outside.

Who set these rules anyway? Someone he knows pretty well and who will be on hand often to perhaps monitor the rules. None other than his incoming Secretary of State - Hillary Clinton.

But a president spends plenty of time outside 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., which means plenty of occasions for a lapse. For himself, his family, as an example to the nation -- and, of course, to avoid more media gotchas -- it's going to be better for him to quit once and for all.

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