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Obama news conference: Smoker? President admits he's fallen off the wagon

June 23, 2009 | 10:21 am

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One reporter, noting that President Obama had signed a day earlier legislation to regulate tobacco, pointedly asked: “How many cigarettes do you smoke alone or in the presence of other people?”

“First of all,” Obama replied, “the new law is not about me. It’s about the next generation of kids coming up.”

He then showed a little pique, saying, “You just think it’s neat to ask me about my smoking,” rather than ask about the new law.

Then came confessional time. “Have I fallen off the wagon sometimes? Yes.”

But does the president smoke on a daily basis? “No.”

He added: “I don’t do it in front of my kids. I don’t do it in front of my family.”

Obama drew laughs from the press corps when he said, “I’m 95% cured. There are times where I mess up.”

But returning to his earlier point, he said the important issue is the new tobacco legislation he signed Monday. That, he said, can help reduce the number of new smokers in the future.

-- Steve Padilla

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Photo: Jim R. Bounds / Bloomberg News

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