At the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night, Barack Obama delivered a soaring defense of America’s democratic ideals, one that doubled as a victory lap for his administration. But just hours after the president exited the stage in Philadelphia, a bombshell interview has revealed a terrible stain on that administration’s legacy. Now Hillary Clinton’s chances in November may hinge on her capacity to keep herself from being soaked by the rain clouds of scandal that hover above 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The fiasco began quietly, with a dispatch from the New York Times in early June. In it, the Obama family’s personal chef detailed the president’s nighttime snacking habits:
But in a stunning confession Thursday morning, Obama revealed that the tiny treat that had come to define his presidency was, in truth, a wholesale lie.
“A lot of people were interested to learn that you have a nightly snack every night of exactly seven almonds,” Savannah Guthrie told Obama on NBC’s Today show.
“Thank you for raising this,” Obama said, though his anguished eyes appeared anything but thankful.
“Why not eight?” Guthrie asked.
“Well, this is an example of the weird way that the press works,” Obama replied. “So Michelle and Sam Kass, who was our chef here, one night they were talking about me and teasing me about how disciplined I was, that I didn’t have potato chips or I didn’t have a piece of cake. And this is when Michelle said, ‘Yes, and he just has seven almonds. That’s it,’ to really drive home the point that I needed to loosen up a little bit. And Sam relayed this joke to the New York Times in the article, and somehow it was relayed as if I was counting out … the seven almonds.”
Liberals have rightly lambasted Donald Trump for attacking the legitimacy of the press any time it catches him in a lie. They should be no less outraged when the leader of the free world emulates the mogul’s tactics.
Twenty-six days passed between the publication of the Times piece and Obama’s confession. We may never know how many of our nation’s young people were hurt by this fabrication — how many found themselves unable to resist that eighth almond and were subsequently consumed by self-loathing, falsely believing that they lacked the dietary discipline of America’s role-model-in-chief.
“I’m so grateful I had this opportunity,” Obama told Guthrie on Thursday. “This has been really weighing on me.”
But now the president’s lies weigh on Hillary Clinton’s campaign. At this point, the Democratic nominee’s only hope may be that the media’s bottomless appetite for trivial pseudo-stories will drown out public memory of how thoroughly Obama’s reckless behavior has discredited the party he leads.