President Obama has quit smoking. Or at least, that is what Michelle Obama believes. The First Lady told a group of people at a White House reporter's luncheon (we thought they had quit "luncheons" a while ago, too) that it had been "almost a year" since he'd last smoked, though she didn't know for sure when he quit. In December, press secretary Robert Gibbs told the media he hadn't seen Obama smoke in nine months.
"It's been a while and I'm very proud of him," Ms. Obama said, according to the Washington Post. "I haven't poked and prodded. When somebody is doing the right thing, you don't mess with them.... It's not something that I can be like 'Have you smoked today, have you smoked today?'"
Following Through "President Obama has quit smoking cigarettes! The leader of the free world is smoke free," says Roz Zurko at the Hartford Examiner. "Chances are he has kicked the smoking habit 100%. When he makes his mind up to do something, he does it."
Chalk It Up To His Wife "Michelle Obama takes credit for originally getting the president to quit smoking," says Sunlen Miller at ABC, noting that the first lady had made it a "requirement" before his 2008 presidential run.
Nicotine Gum? "Obama is known to have chewed nicotine gum to help," writes Darlene Superville at the Houston Chronicle. After his first medical checkup as president last year, the White House physician said in a statement issued after the exam that Obama should stick with "smoking cessation efforts" — the use of nicotine gum.
Spotlight On Boehner "Obama's seeming choice to quit smoking is in contrast to his chief Republican opponent, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, who is also a smoker," writes Rebecca Kaplan at the National Journal.
Cigarettes Falling Out Of Favor "Smoking, or appearing to smoke, was once in fashion from the entertainment industry to the White House," writes Joel Connelly at Seattle Pi. "A Franklin D. Roosevelt trademark was his cigarette holder. John F. Kennedy used a diplomatic pouch to indulge his liking for Cuban cigars. Ronald Reagan once did ads for Chesterfield, pretending to smoke....The president's success leaves... Boehner as the highest ranking cigarette smoker in American government."