Friday, July 06, 2012

President Obama: "I’m Skinny, But I’m Tough"

Wooing voters in an electorate where one-third of the adult population is overweight or obese, the Eater in Chief discusses his figure and admits that "I’ve been eating a lot"...
President Obama's weight and physique were the subject of much discussion among the concerned citizens of Ohio and Pennsylvania, he said on Friday during a stop on the culinary odyssey that was his 'Betting on America' bus tour. As he rolled across the rustbelt aboard Ground Force One, the President had stopped to indulge in cookies, apple pie, strawberry pie, a cheeseburger and French fries lunch, ice cream, beer, a bacon and eggs breakfast--and that's just what's on the record. He also purchased corn and fruit, and left with samples of tomato sauce after visiting an Ohio food production facility. The President was repeatedly told he is "skinny" and he needs to gain weight, he said. And he announced that he's been "eating a lot." (Above: The President looking fit in Parma, Ohio)

"I’ve been eating a lot," President Obama told a crowd at Dobbins School in the Ohio town of Poland. "People have been commenting I need to gain some weight, so --"

"Yes!" a member of the audience shouted, interrupting.

"Wait--who said that “yes”?" the President asked, to laughter. "Well, you’ll be happy to know that I’ve been eating. And in between the eating we’ve been talking a little bit about politics."

"I’m skinny, but I’m tough. I am," the President later assured the crowd, trotting out some campaign rhetoric he'd also used during the 2008 campaign.

The President turns 51 in less than a month, on August 4, and he is 6 feet 1 inch tall. He weighed in at 181.3 pounds during his last official physical examination in October of 2011, which is a healthy weight. In that, he is a member of a group of Americans that will have a smaller population each year if the efforts of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign are not succesful. An estimated one third of the adult population is currently overweight or obese, and this is predicted by federal estimates to soar to close to half the adult population by 2030. (Above: Enjoying pie in Oak Harbor, Ohio)

At a stop at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's Carnegie Mellon University hours later, the President again discussed his weight and his eating. He'd just stopped at Kretchmar's Bakery in the town of Beaver, picking up apple pie and cookies, which he insisted his press corps indulge in, too.

"We just came from Beaver, Pennsylvania," President Obama said. "And everywhere I go, people have said, Mr. President, you’re getting too skinny, you need to eat."

"And so we’ve been eating a lot."

In 2011, the President's body mass index registered at 23.9 kg.m2, according to the report on his physical exam released by the White House. That's not too skinny. The President works out regularly, in addition to enjoying weekend golf games, usually with White House aides, including assistant chef Sam Kass, the man charged with creating the ostensibly healthy at-home meals for the First Family.

A fat electorate and a skinny President...
The President uses his eat n' greet stops around the US to gladhand locals and reassure them he's just like they are. So it's an interesting set of political optics that he's "skinny"--and apparently eating like a machine. Most American's can't do that and maintain a healthy weight. Most American's don't have a personal trainer who flies in from Chicago, as President Obama does. Or personal chefs making their meals--other than Chef Boyardee. The President likes his fitness trainer, Cornell McClellan, so much that he's appointed him to the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. (Above: The President greets supporters at an ice cream social in Sandusky, Ohio)

During the 2008 campaign, it made headlines when the President's body man, Reggie Love, reportedly threw out the many food items the President purchased during his stops when he was stumping during his first run for the White House.

But "skinny" in the President's current campaign rhetoric is as much about fundraising as it is about eating. Republican opponent Mitt Romney and the GOP in general are "outraising" and "outspending" him, the President has said repeatedly. Obama for America is sending supporters many e-mails repeating the theme. The President will have to win the White House on what is, compared to the GOP's efforts, a "skinny" budget. That "skinny" Obama budget will be hundreds of millions of dollars, if not more than a billion dollars.

On Thursday in Ohio, the Eater in Chief made three "unscheduled" stops for food and drink: In the evening, he enjoyed a Bud Light with new friends at Ziggy's Bar & Restaurant in Amherst. Earlier in the day he stopped at Kozy Corners restaurant in Oak Harbor for a cheeseburger and Fries lunch, topped off with a slice of strawberry pie. That was followed by a stop for a rare purchase of local produce at Bergman Orchards Farm Market in Port Clinton, where the President bought sweet corn, cherries and peaches. A scheduled afternoon campaign event in Ohio, in Sandusky, included an ice cream social.

On Friday morning in Ohio, the President ate breakfast at Ann's Place, a diner in Akron. Sitting at the counter with three Goodyear employees, the President enjoyed two eggs over medium, with a side of bacon, wheat toast and grits. Owner Josephine 'Ann' Harris died shortly after she met the President, and he later phoned his condolences. After that outing, he stopped at Summer Garden Food Manufacturing in Boardman, to get a look at the private-label pasta sauce operation. He left with samples.

*Photos by Obama for America