Miss Manners just might be wagging her finger at the President this weekend for chewing gum during the recent G-8 and G-20 meetings.  Sure, world leader summits are business meetings that can be tedious and also long.  Hour after hour discussing important weighty topics such as global economy, nuclear proliferation, and world poverty levels. While President Obama is not chairing these summits, that role falls to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper as the host, he does play a significant role. It has often been said that the job of being the President of the United States is also one of the most stressful.

Several studies show that chewing gum can relieve anxiety and increase alertness.  Something Mr. Obama might need during a two hour meeting.  While video shows the President appearing to chew gum, there was no visible bubble-blowing.

However, President Obama has admitted he struggles with an addiction to nicotine and has begun chewing gum to alleviate the need for a cigarette.  The President’s doctors during a routine medical physical earlier this year recommended Mr. Obama continue with his “nicotine replacement therapy.”  When pressed by reporters for specifics, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in February that the President “continues to both work hard at it as well as struggle with it probably each and every day.” 

It was not clear if he was chewing regular gum or nicotine gum at the event.

But what about the etiquette of chewing gum?.  One website on chewing gum etiquette suggests that gum should not be chewed during professional meetings (G-8 and G-20 summits, perhaps?), and should not be chewed by someone who’s job requires a lot of talking, (the President of the United States, maybe?).  Nor should gum be chewed while speaking to older people.  No word if King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who turns 86 years old in August, found it offensive during the G-20 family photo-op.

And whatever you do, Mr. Obama, no gum cracking!

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