How healthy is Barack Obama?

Summary:Should he win pics of Obama with a cig may replace pics of Bush with a drink as a national metaphor.

Barack Obama in SeattleWe had a lot of fun debating John McCain's health the other day, so it's fair to have the same debate regarding his likely Democratic opponent.

Barack Obama is in excellent health, his doctor says. Dr. David L. Scheiner, his primary care doctor, sent out a one-page letter to that effect on May 30.

Two caveats. First, his last physical was in January, 2007. Second, he's been a smoker for 20 years.

Obama has been trying to quit with Nicorette, and if McCain whips him but he stays off the smokes he could do for that product what Sen. Robert Dole did for Viagra. But that may be getting ahead of ourselves.

This week Obama told The Arizona Republic he only smoked 4-5 cancer sticks per day, and has successfully kicked the habit over the last 18 months.

Still, the numbers his doctor provided are awfully sweet. His cholesterol numbers are better than those of my 20-year old daughter, and his main concern is a family history of cancer, which took both his mother and grandfather.

Why such a beautiful body? Obama credits morning basketball (not bowling) and jogging, while his doctor credits a balanced diet.

His personal aide, Reggie Love, offered The New York Times  some insights into that diet, which runs to grilled fish, protein bars and iced tea. And that leads to my own diagnosis, nerves.

Some people eat when they get nervous. Others neglect it. I'm of that persuasion. When my own mind is troubled I lose weight like a Hollywood star with a diet commercial contract.

Many Presidential candidates gain weight on the trail. People use gooey food as a way to make you one of them, and there's little choice but to take a bite. Think Al Gore.

Frank Sinatra in 1957Another hint, which I'd gathered from watching Obama speak but which Love confirmed, is Frank Sinatra. Obama turned his aide on to the Chairman of the Board, and he gives off a Sinatra vibe when he's speaking.

Sinatra always appeared cool, too, but his movies show that vibe hid a great intensity and concentration on craft.

Anyway that's my theory and I'm sticking with it. (And for the critics, Sinatra was a long-time smoker and the habit destroyed his voice.) Should he win pics of Obama with a cig may replace pics of Bush with a drink as a national metaphor.

Topics: Legal, CXO, Enterprise Software, Tech & Work


Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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