So, funny story: When President Barack Obama was in New York not too long ago, he tried to pay for dinner, and his credit card was rejected. "It turns out I guess I don't use it enough, so they thought there was some fraud going on," he told a group at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau earlier today as he signed an executive order that will require credit and debit cards to be more secure. "Even I'm affected by this," he added sarcastically.
On some level, it's reassuring to see that a mundane annoyance can befall even the world's most powerful person—no one can escape the system, not even someone who has a chief of staff. It turns out the president's finances, as New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor told Marketplace two years ago, are actually more his responsibility than most people are aware: The Obamas pay for their vacations, their parties, and their butlers out of their own pockets. At the White House, only the rent is covered.
The reason why Obama's card was declined, apparently, is that he uses it so rarely—which carries echoes of when Hillary Clinton revealed last January that she hasn't driven a car in 20 years. Which reminds us that in the end, Obama presumably will not have to spend hours sorting this out on the phone, desperately trying to figure out which freaking buttons he has to press to speak with a human. That's Biden's job.
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