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Obama`s Smoking, Meds, Fear Of Public Nakedness, Etc.
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November 20, 2008, 03:16 PM
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Michael Kinsley writes about something the press studiously ignored during our recent campaign, which sure seemed more like an extended coronation ceremony than an actual contest: although he claimed he was quitting, Obama still smokes.

One way he avoided press scrutiny in general was by not traveling by bus to campaign events with the press on-board. Instead, he`s grabbed a ride with a campaign staffer and light up a cigarette.

With Obama`s high-strung, sensitive personality, it`s likely a good thing that he self-medicates with cigarettes. The odds of him coming down with lung cancer and making Joe Biden President are not infinitesimal, but they aren`t so high that we`d want Obama to be himself with no nicotine in his system to calm him down.

It`s interesting that there is no press interest in whatever else he might be medicated with. Obama released a brief, unrevealing letter from his doctor awhile back, but it didn`t mention what prescription drugs he has taken.

I would guess that Obama has been on anti-depressants at least once in his life, and probably tranquilizers as well. Not that there`s anything wrong with that! The number of people who have benefited from these kind of drugs must be in the scores of millions by now. For example, I had prescriptions for both anti-depressants and tranquilizers for about six weeks after being diagnosed with cancer in 1996. In particular, the tranquilizers were effective in fending off panic attacks. I was prone to having a panic attack not only over fear of dying but, more debilitatingly, I would get a panic attack over fear that I would have a panic attack—a rather nasty vicious circle. After a couple of weeks, just having the bottle of Xanax in my pocket was reassuring enough that if I started having a panic attack, I could quell it, so I didn`t even have to take Xanax any more—just carry it around like a good luck charm for another month.

Finally, a reader who lives in the same apartment complex as Obama`s mystery man Mike Signator offers a plausible explanation of why Obama often briefly visits Signator`s apartment after working out in the apartment building`s gym: to take a private shower. In an age of cellphone cameras, the last thing we need on the Internet are pictures of the President-Elect in the health club shower.