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Ear to the Ground

WSJ: Is Obama Too Fit for the White House?

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Posted on Aug 1, 2008
Obama playing basketball
AP photo / Jae C. Hong

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, center, gets a loose ball during a “3-on-3 Challenge for Change” basketball game at Maple Crest Elementary School in Kokomo, Ind., in April.

Following on the heels of last week’s probing editorial about whether the creators of “The Dark Knight” are closeted Bush fans hankering to spread their (W-shaped) bat wings in full daylight comes this latest round of barrel-scraping for political analysis by The Wall Street Journal—this time daring to wonder whether Barack Obama shouldn’t hit the McDonald’s drive-through a bit harder if he really wants to win this thing.


The Wall Street Journal:

Raised by a Midwestern grandmother, Sen. Obama didn’t begin to slim down until he played basketball regularly in high school.

These days he stays away from junk food and instead snacks on MET-Rx chocolate roasted-peanut protein bars and drinks Black Forest Berry Honest Tea, a healthy organic brew. (Sen. McCain is said to have a weakness for Butterfinger candy bars, jelly beans, and coffee and doughnuts from Dunkin’ Donuts.)

On a campaign stop in May at Lew’s Dari-Freeze in Milwaukie, Ore., Sen. Obama’s wife, Michelle, and their two daughters ate ice-cream sundaes and onion rings, while Sen. Obama grinned for the cameras and swirled a spoon around in his quickly melting ice-cream concoction, taking only a few nibbles.

During a July family appearance on “Access Hollywood,” Sen. Obama’s 7-year-old daughter, Sasha, revealed that her dad doesn’t like ice cream or sweets. “Everybody should like ice cream,” she said.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a self-described “recovering foodaholic” who shed 110 pounds from his 5-foot-11 frame in two years and made fitness and nutrition central to his White House run, says voters “probably want someone who takes care of his health ... as an example of the kind of personal discipline necessary to do the job.”

But too much time in the gym can cause problems, as Sen. Obama learned last month after he made three stops to local Chicago gyms in one day, for a total of 188 minutes. The marathon workout session sparked a widely circulated Associated Press article titled “Obama Becomes a Gym Rat.” In it, the reporter wrote, “Sometimes it’s hard to tell if Barack Obama is running for president of the United States or Mr. Universe.”

Republicans have recently picked up on the senator’s fitness regimen. On Wednesday, the McCain campaign launched a new ad titled “Celeb” that compares Sen. Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. In a memo to reporters explaining the ad, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis wrote, “Only celebrities like Barack Obama go to the gym three times a day.”

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By geoffspear, August 4, 2008 at 6:32 am Link to this comment

WTF?  Fitness nut Bush is the valiant savior of humanity, but fitness nut Obama is just a bit too fit? After 8 years of a bad president who keeps in shape the American people want a bad president who’s old and fat instead of a good president who also coincidentally stays in shape?  The people at the WSJ need to quit smoking too.  Unfortunately for them crack is a bit harder to quit than nicotine.

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By thebeerdoctor, August 2, 2008 at 4:15 am Link to this comment

re: cyrena

“Too chicken to put yourself out of your own misery, eh?”
What do you mean that? Should the happy Beer Doctor commit suicide because some ignorant scowl doesn’t like what I say? That IS pathetic, but I must admit, you still are hilarious.

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By thebeerdoctor, August 2, 2008 at 3:05 am Link to this comment

What is this? Some kind of nicotine jones? Did I say hilarious? Correction: you are a joke.

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By cyrena, August 2, 2008 at 3:00 am Link to this comment

By thebeerdoctor, August 1 at 9:31 pm #

beerdoc,

You wouldn’t know ‘hilarious’ if covered you with a rash. I’ve never come across a more morose or negative person in my life, and I’ve seen a bunch of ‘em. Too chicken to put yourself out of your own misery, eh?

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By thebeerdoctor, August 1, 2008 at 10:31 pm Link to this comment

re: cyrena

Why should anyone care about your failures? And you complain about people bitching here. You continue to be hilarious.

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By cyrena, August 1, 2008 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

Well, I’m jealous. He quit smoking too. I never could get into the physical exercise thing…can’t even begin to remember the number of gym memberships I paid for and never used. Couldn’t figure out why none of the promises to turn me into a Ms. Universe never panned out, until I realized that..Ah, Cyrena, you actually have to GO there…to the gym that is.

That said, I’m still completely convinced by all of the prevailing wisdom, of the benefits of physical exercise. My sister wouldn’t miss a day, and it’s a very good thing, since she would otherwise be impossible to live with.

I’ll stick with my standard exercise, which is my walk to the cigarette store and back.

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By Bernice, August 1, 2008 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Who would even ask such a stupid question?” Apparently, the Wall Street Journal, Mary, but it may be because tabloid-news-guy Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News, recently bought it. 

Halim:  You might find interesting a November 2005 report by British writer Greg Muttitt titled, “Crude Designs: The Rip-Off of Iraq’s Oil Wealth,” which is at http://www.globalpolicy.org or http://www.crudedesigns.org, and a July 2007 article by Muttitt and Erik Leaver called “Slick Connections: US Influence on Iraqi Oil,” which is at http://www.pfif.org.  Oil may not be the ONLY reason we invaded Iraq, but it’s the one we seem to want to stay forever for.

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By muffler, August 1, 2008 at 1:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A president who is an example of intelligence, thoughtfulness, good father, healthy and sharp. Tell me who you think will be able to answer the 3AM call if it happens.  The man who is healthy and sharp or the man who needs his naps.

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By Mary, August 1, 2008 at 11:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The title of this article is ridiculous.  Who would even ask such a stupid question?  Maybe we won’t need geezer Schwarzneggar as the face of fitness for the administration when we have hottie Obama to look at for 8 years!!  WOO HOO

P.s. I don’t like ice cream or sweets either.  I know, I’m un-american.

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By montymarket, August 1, 2008 at 11:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Clearly Obama is playing the race card from the bottom of the deck by purposefully remaining fit, working out, and playing basketball (get it?—“basketball”).  Further, the press is still favoring Obama: the only shot we get of McCain doing anything athletic is when he’s wearing $520 loafers while riding in a golf cart with former President Bush.

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By Rafik Halim, August 1, 2008 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

Well, if is going to be an exciting day for me…The 4th of November would represent the day when I say NO to more republicans in the White House.
Actually, I find it hard to believe that any American would vote for Senator McCain in this incoming election. Haven’t we had enough republicans in the White House. It was already a disappointment that George W. Bush was elected for a second term. Let’s see what the “experience” fellas in the White House + staff did in the past 8 years. It doesn’t take a magnifying glass to see that the economy went down dramatically, the real estate crisis, and the recession and lost jobs are another proof that those “experienced” guys were not as experienced as they thought. The question would still remain: why would anyone vote for someone who has as ideology that is similar to the President’s ? Are we really content from what we have now ? Haven’t we been suffering enough especially in the past 2 years ?
On the other hand, those who claim that we need to return victoriously from Iraq…Let me remind you that our main target from that war was supposedly getting rid of Saddam Hussein and the alleged weapons of mass destruction. More than five years have passed since the Baghdad fall.. Have we found any weapons ? NO….Have we improved the quality of lives for the Iraqis ? Maybe ..... Have we broken possibly every human rights law that we helped create through Guantanamo and Abu Ghareeb ? DEFINATELY YES….Have we created more enemies for the US ? DEFINATELY YES. Senator McCain, you are a war hero, there is no doubt about that…but don’t try to play with words and slogans….cause frankly, you are the one who is trying to win the presidency on the lives of American men who are fighting a war that has no meaning. Staying 100 years in Iraq would not solve anything. Increasing the hatred of everyone to the United States and imaging it as a big bully would not help anything. Most important, we are currently spending 10 Billion dollars monthly on that war. What are we getting for it ? Nothing positive….we’re getting world hatred and American lives taken.
On the other hand, when I look at Senator Obama, he’s wise, he knows what he’s saying and believe me I know that his education and his ideology would help push America to the front again.
I have to disagree about the part that Obama lost touch with Americans, The Obama campaign has been raising millions of dollars from donations. He’s not getting the money from the regular companies he’s getting most of those from people, parents who have seen the kids ruin the future and die in Iraq for no good cause. He’s getting it from people who lost their jobs because of the bad economy. What McCain is saying is jealousy, McCain took the same trip months ago but he didn’t get that much publicity. I think it’s time that everyone wakes up and takes a look about our America and then make a decision.

R. Halim
Minneapolis, MN

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By Thomas, August 1, 2008 at 10:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama is a breath of fresh air!  This country needs someone who leads by example.  We have a weight problem and what is good for the president is good for his/her citizens.  When he is in the White House I hope he can maintain his fitness practices and capitalizes on it as well.

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By Rafik Halim, August 1, 2008 at 10:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, it is going to be an exciting day for me…The 4th of November would represent the day when I say NO to more republicans in the White House.
Actually, I find it hard to believe that any American would vote for Senator McCain in this incoming election. Haven’t we had enough republicans in the White House. It was already a disappointment that George W. Bush was elected for a second term. Let’s see what the “experience” fellas in the White House + staff did in the past 8 years. It doesn’t take a magnifying glass to see that the economy went down dramatically, the real estate crisis, and the recession and lost jobs are another proof that those “experienced” guys were not as experienced as they thought. The question would still remain: why would anyone vote for someone who has as ideology that is similar to the President’s ? Are we really content from what we have now ? Haven’t we been suffering enough especially in the past 2 years ?
On the other hand, those who claim that we need to return victoriously from Iraq…Let me remind you that our main target from that war was supposedly getting rid of Saddam Hussein and the alleged weapons of mass destruction. More than five years have passed since the Baghdad fall.. Have we found any weapons ? NO….Have we improved the quality of lives for the Iraqis ? Maybe ..... Have we broken possibly every human rights law that we helped create through Guantanamo and Abun Ghareeb ? DEFINITELY YES….Have we created more enemies for the US ? DEFINITELY YES. Senator McCain, you are a war hero, there is no doubt about that…but don’t try to play with words and slogans….cause frankly, you are the one who is trying to win the presidency on the lives of American men who are fighting a war that has no meaning. Staying 100 years in Iraq would not solve anything. Increasing the hatred of everyone to the United States and imaging it as a big bully would not help anything. Most important, we are currently spending 10 Billion dollars monthly on that war. What are we getting for it ? Nothing positive….we’re getting world hatred and American lives taken.
On the other hand, when I look at Senator Obama, he’s wise, he knows what he’s saying and believe me I know that his education and his ideology would help push America to the front again.
You say that Obama has no touch with the American people, I totally disagree. Obama has been getting donation from all classes of the American people, rich, middle class and poor. I don’t think any other candidate over the history of the United States was able to raise such money from that much people.
I would like to end this by one phrase…In my point of view, Obama is REALLY a change I can beleive in !!!!

R. Halim
Minneapolis, MN

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By rowdy, August 1, 2008 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

this country has always been run by fat OLD white men. i hope obama can turn this around.

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By Aegrus, August 1, 2008 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

Obama is clearly out of touch with Americans because he takes care of his physical well-being. We surely don’t want someone who is fit in office…. goodness gracious. Next thing you know, we might have someone who actually cares for the American public in the executive office.

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