President Obama was caught off-guard on Monday at the U.N. General Assembly, chatting with Maina Kiai, the U.N. Special Rapporteur for rights to freedom of peaceful assembly on what he apparently didn't know what was a live microphone. And while its no mean girl moment with former French President Nicholas Sarkozy, the president did say that he didn't smoke anymore "cause I’m scared of my wife.” As not-ready-for-primetime as that joke is, however, it also turns out that the president exaggerated the length of his time as a smoke-free man.
According to most reports, including that of his wife. Obama was still sneaking cigarettes in part of 2010, but had quit by his 2011 annual check-up. His decision to quit, reportedly, was one of Michelle Obama's conditions for him to run for office in 2008. His struggle to do so over his first years in office was widely reported, even though Obama more or less quit smoking in public as a presidential candidate in 2008. On Monday, however, Obama told Kiai that he hasn't "had a cigarette probably in six years." Scandal!
According to a 2011 interview, Michelle Obama said that her husband's main motivation to quit in his last years as a smoker was for the sake of his daughters.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.