Secret Service: Obama was safe in gym

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Secret Service agents were in close proximity to President Obama on Tuesday when he was photographed while exercising at a Polish hotel gym, a spokesman for the agency said.

Some commentators questioned whether the Secret Service had taken the appropriate precautions, after a fellow gym user snapped photos and videos of Obama working out at a Warsaw Marriott. The president, in a dark tracksuit, is seen in one photograph performing weight exercises and working out on the elliptical.

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"How could the Secret Service possibly let this happen?" asked Fox News host Greta Van Susteren in a post to her blog. "If you can reach the president with a camera lens like this … you know more sinister things can happen. This is once again, our SECRET SERVICE FAILING US (and once again, in an overseas trip.) Time to clean house at the Secret Service."

A spokesman for the Secret Service said the situation at the gym was "no different than if the president visited a restaurant off the record and other diners took pictures of him."

Obama regularly poses for pictures with diners or bystanders when he makes unscheduled stops during trips, although the view into his workout routine is rare.

"Hotel guests were not asked to leave the gym during this off the record movement, nor were they asked to refrain from taking pictures," agency spokesman Ed Donovan said in a statement.

Donovan added that all guests entering the hotel went through a security screening, and Secret Service agents were nearby as Obama worked out.

In an interview with Men's Health, Obama says he typically works out for 45 minutes six days a week, and supplements that regular exercise with basketball games with friends.

"Barack is almost religious about getting in his workouts," Obama friend Alan King told WebMD. "He values his workout time as time to think and relieve stress. I'd say he's also driven by the fact that he wants to be fit and healthy to be around for Michelle and the girls."