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Obama Campaigns as a Quitter

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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In the history of campaign promises, Barack Obama's latest might also be the toughest to keep. Read my lips, he's essentially pledging, "no Newports." Actually, he's a Marlboro man. But Obama has made a promise to his wife—and because the press got wind of it, the public—to quit smoking during his presidential bid.

He's on the Nicorette now instead.

As a service to the senator from Illinois, has identified a few areas of stress in his presidential campaign where he might be more tempted than usual to smoke a butt:

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• Obama's L.A. Times coverage. In a story Sunday, the Times quotes Obama's fellow activists who say there are too many "I"s in Obama's memoir, suggesting he played up his activist role in the 1980s. The next day, Obama dispatched his people to write a point-by-point refutation of the story. Bad press like this is better swallowed with a deep, satisfying drag on a smooth 100.

• Tomorrow's speech in Des Moines, Iowa. A little more than a week ago, Obama gave a speech in Iowa in which he criticized the war in Iraq, saying that 3,000 young American lives had been "wasted." He has since issued an apology for his word choice. But the pressure's on tomorrow. Every syllable will be scrutinized. Maybe just a couple of pre-speech puffs would calm his nerves. Split one?

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• February 23, Austin, Texas. Need we point out that this is Bush Country? Well, it's flavor country, too, stomping grounds of the original Marlboro Man.



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