We’ll get back to Iran in due course, but first here’s a miserable moment from today’s press conference at the White House. Asked by some ghastly hack from McClatchy about his smoking (and the so-called “frustration and fear” that comes from stopping smoking), Barack Obama replied:
How craven is that? Pretty dire stuff. Is there any other legal product Obama would feel he had to apologise for consuming – even on an occasional basis? And does the President really mean to send the message that millions of Americans should feel bad about their enjoyment of a great Amercan product? Apparently so. And yet such is the power, hysteria and zealotry of the anti-smoking movement that it is taken for granted, apparently, that Obama should be ashamed of smoking and that, accordingly, of course it’s assumed that he must be trying to give up one of the comparatively few pleasures that might make life in the Oval Office marginally more bearable.
Look, I’ve said before that as a former smoker I constantly struggle with it. Have I fallen off the wagon sometimes? Yes. The — am I a daily smoker, a constant smoker? No. I don’t do it in front of my kids. I don’t do it in front of my family. And, you know, I would say that I am 95 percent cured. But there are times where … There are times where I mess up.
Rather than stand up for himself, however, Obama permits himself to be hectored and brow-beaten by the anti-smoking lobby. Not his finest hour. Perhaps someone should give the President a copy of Christopher Snowdon’s Velvet Glove, Iron Fist: A History of Anti-Smoking…
UPDATE: Jacob Sullum has more.