By Justin Sink
President Obama should overrule the Secret Service and find a way to run outside, counselor John Podesta said in an interview with Runner's World magazine.
Podesta, an avid runner who logs 25 miles per week, thinks Obama would be better served if he ditched his treadmill.
It might be a tough sell to the president, though. Obama has spoken fondly in the past about how he enjoys catching up on SportsCenter during his early morning workouts.
But Podesta and White House chief of staff Denis McDonough have pulled the president outside for regular walks around the South Lawn of the White House, so there might be hope for their workout initiative. Earlier this year, Obama and Vice President Biden taped a video for the first lady's fitness initiative featuring the leaders jogging around the White House grounds.
Podesta says his favorite runs wind around some of Washington's best-known monuments and buildings.
"I've covered just about every inch of Rock Creek Park, our nation's first urban national park," Podesta said. "One of the great running spots in the world is the National Mall, from the Capitol to the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial and around the Jefferson Memorial, particularly during cherry blossom season. My other favorites are Teddy Roosevelt Island, which has incomparable natural beauty in the middle of a city, and along the Potomac at Gravelly Point Park, where planes taking off and landing at Reagan National Airport seem like they are 20 feet over your head, and probably are."
Podesta said his running did lead to a close call during his tenure as former President Clinton's chief of staff in the 1990s. During a refueling stop at an Air Force base in Alaska, Podesta tried to squeeze in a quick run while Clinton met with service members.
"I was out for maybe 45 minutes. We weren't supposed to be leaving for two hours. I was running, and a jeep came racing up and screeched to a halt and the guy said, 'Sir, they got done early. The plane's refueled. They're leaving,'" Podesta said. "So I jumped in the jeep and we raced to the plane. I ran up the back steps of the plane while the president was saluting the base commander at the front steps. Newt Gingrich had made those back steps famous when he was made to leave from the back end of the plane for protocol reasons one day. But they saved my life that day."