Chinese repulsed by Obama chewing gum at formal summit
President Obama was captured on live coverage of the summit talks in China chewing gum, causing much negative comment among Chinese viewers.
Live television coverage on China's top state-run channel Monday night showed the leaders of the 21 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member states arriving in iconic socialist limousines, along red-lit avenues, at the Water Cube, the Olympic swimming venue. (snip)
Obama emerged from his car chewing gum; he's a well-known user of Nicorette, the smoking-cessation gum. But Chinese Internet users, accustomed to the highly formal standards of their stiff party leadership, quickly characterized the leader of the world's most powerful nation as an impolite "idler," or careless "rapper."
"We made this meeting so luxurious, with singing and dancing, but see Obama, stepping out of his car chewing gum like an idler," wrote Yin Hong, a professor of journalism at Beijing's Tsinghua University, on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo micro-blog service. Twitter, like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, is banned in China, whose censors fear such services could aid political protest.
It sounds like our president still has the nicotine monkey on his back. If he can’t even do without a Nicorette fix in the most formal of international events, then he is fighting an addiction. Imagine, for a moment, that President Bush 43 had been caught chewing Nicorette and offending his hosts thereby. He would have been ridiculed as a hopeless weakling and a disgrace to his office.
Oh wait, that’s right: George W. Bush is an alcoholic who beat his addiction, and has been sober for many years.
Update. Lauri Regan comments: Wear a friggin patch when you're in public! It's ridiculous at this point (does he smoke in the people's house?),
An earlier photo of O chewing gum, photograph by Charles Dharapak/AP Photo: