Monday, February 12, 2007

Obama's Dirty Little Secret

We couldn't find any credible polls on whether Americans are likely to elect a president who smokes. But Sen. Barack Obama isn't taking any chances. According to the Chicago Tribune, Obama is working to kick the habit. Some of us around the editorial department didn't know the senator smoked. In a sense, it makes him more human. But it's a chink in the armor of his boy-next-door image. It also makes us wonder how many other public officials are privately puffing.After all, smokers are no longer seen as cool or sophisticated, the way Franklin Roosevelt might have been viewed when he toted around his cigarette holder. These days, those gripped by addiction are seen as weak, a damaging attribute for a candidate. We figure Obama has a pretty good shot at quitting, since his every move is being captured by the media. Sneaking a puff in a parking garage or car won't be an option when photographers are lurking around every corner. We wish him the best of luck. As any former smoker will attest, it's tough to quit. There's never an easy time to do it - let alone when you're starting a marathon campaign aimed at the White House.