First lady Michelle Obama considers her husband a former smoker because he formally has quit smoking, she told a roundtable of print reporters today. Asked by reporters if she could say the president finally has quit smoking, Michelle Obama said, “Yes, he has,” and that “it’s been almost a year.”
She didn’t know exactly when he’d quit, the AP reported, “because he never smoked a lot,” and she’d never see him smoke.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in December that he hadn’t seen the president smoke in nearly nine months. But, asked if nine months without smoking meant that his boss has formally quit, Gibbs hesitated.
“For that nine months, yes,” he said. “I mean, I don’t– I’m trying not– I don’t want to be flip. I mean, I don’t– I think the president would be the first one to tell you that it’s a struggle.”
Gibbs then told a story, repeated in today’s White House briefing, that a few White House aides joined the president when he decided to quit with similar success, he believed.
Michelle Obama takes credit for originally getting the president to quit smoking, making it a requirement before she’d agree to his run in the 2008 presidential elections.
“I hate it,” she said on CBS’ “60 Minutes” in 2007 of her husband’s smoking. “That’s why he doesn’t do it anymore. I’m proud to say. I outed him. I’m the one who outed him on the smoking. That was one of my prerequisites for, you know, entering this race, is that, you know, he couldn’t be a smoking president.”
The first lady’s comments today came during a roundtable with the small group of beat reporters from print publications to preview Wednesday’s one-year anniversary of her “Let’s Move!” campaign to combat child obesity.