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  1. Florida Politics

Gumchew diplomacy: the president's unsightly habit (w/video)

Published Nov. 13, 2014

WASHINGTON — In June, President Barack Obama's physician dispatched the results of his third physical examination of the commander in chief. The doctor noted Obama was in "excellent" health except for his history of smoking. But Obama, the report found, was now "tobacco free," buoyed by "occasional use" of "Nicotine Gum."

It's difficult to find a larger advocate of gum-chewing than the president. Obama chews gum while ensconced in Air Force One watching football. He chews gum while in the throes of a campaign. And to the horror of conservatives, he chewed gum at the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Beijing.

Navy Capt. Jeffrey Kuhlman, the White House physician, recommended Obama stick with "smoking cessation efforts," such as "the use of nicotine gum."

Not everyone is sympathetic.

"This is the American manner and humor, but in traditional Chinese culture, it is immature and not serious behavior!" the Wall Street Journal quoted a blogger as saying. Another said it spoke to something bigger: "No wonder he doesn't get any support."