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Would U.S. Elect a Smoker As President?

Lapham coughs up opinion.


Barack Obama is rumored to sneak cigarettes, which noted nicotine addict Lewis Lapham thinks could hurt him more than the Reverend Wright. “A smoking president wouldn’t be unseemly to me, but I’m sure a lot of other people would think so,” he said between Parliament drags at a party for Lapham’s Quarterly. “It’s so politically incorrect.” Lapham, who consumes two packs a day, had lit up in the middle of his own party—“They had an ashtray, and I had permission from the management,” he explained. “I wouldn’t do that if there were no ashtrays”—before retreating to the stoop for another. “An American politician has to express his or her faith in God and can’t smoke,” he said. “Those are two positions.” So it would be inadvisable for Obama to proclaim, “The working classes are bitter, and I smoke”? “I think that would be the end of his political career,” Lapham said.

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