By Doug Elfman
Las Vegas Review-Journal
The new Miss America put on her crown Saturday night then immediately set her sights on one man — Obama. A representative from a pageant sponsor, an anti-smoking group, asked Her Highness at a press conference if she’d try to get the new president to quit smoking.
"I would love to get with him," Miss America Katie Stam of Indiana said. "Actually, that is something I would absolutely love to do this year.
"What an incredible year it is. We have a brand new president — the very first African-American president — and he was just inaugurated several days ago, and now I’m miss America! What a fun year! What an exciting year!
"And I would love to get with him. I would love, LOVE, to help him quit smoking, because he needs to kick that habit. Absolutely. And hopefully, we can make some leeway there.
"And I would also like to get with President Obama about promoting community service and really targeting corporate America — getting them to stop smoking, because it truly is an epidemic. … killing millions and millions of Americans.”
How would she approach the president?
“I’ve actually never been personally affected by someone who has had a smoking addiction, so I definitely need to do a lot of research to figure out the best ways to stop, to get closer to that goal of quitting. So I’m gonna have to do some research before I call him up and try to help him out. But definitely, just a lot of encouragement.”
Obama quit smoking last year. He has said, though, he fell off the wagon sometimes on the campaign trail. The other day, he told Tom Brokaw he has quit.
Here’s a great recounting of that exchange about the White House’s no-smoking rules, as put by columnist John Carlson of the Des Moines Register:
Brokaw, with that ah-haaaa look: "Wait a minute. That means you haven’t stopped."
A smiling Obama: "Fair enough. What I would say is that I have done a terrific job under the circumstances of making myself much healthier, and I think that you will not see any violations of these rules in the White House."
Of course you won’t see any violations of White House rules. The place is sealed off.
Incidentally, the role of role models was the only question posed to Stam during the Q&A portion of Saturday’s Miss America pageant at Planet Hollywood. She was asked if drugged-up athletes should live up to role model status.
Of course, they should, she said: anyone who appears in front of the media is a role model.
Check out my column in Monday’s Review-Journal for more on her and the pageant.