By Judy Kurtz
President Obama, who said in 2009 that he had mostly kicked his cigarette habit, invited Billy Joel to have a smoke at the White House during a recent visit.
An ITK spy was sitting down at the bar at The Jefferson Hotel in downtown Washington last week when in walked The Piano Man himself.
Joel described the day’s events, mentioning that he went over to Capitol Hill to Rep. John BoehnerJohn BoehnerCameras go dark during House Democrats' sit-in Rubio flies with Obama on Air Force One to Orlando Juan Williams: The capitulation of Paul Ryan MORE’s (R-Ohio) office. Our tipster says that Joel recalled the Speaker, well-known for his nicotine habit, opened up a drawer, then “pulled out a pack of cigarettes and offered me one. And I said, ‘No thanks, I quit.’ ”
A photo posted on Boehner’s Instagram page Wednesday shows the pair chatting in the lawmaker’s office at the Capitol.
Then, Joel remembered another tobacco offer from a high-profile politician. According to our tipster, the 65-year-old entertainer said, “I was at the White House recently, and President Obama did the same thing. He said, ‘I’m going out on the North Portico to have a smoke. Do you want to come with me?”
Joel said he replied, “Well, I haven’t smoked in a long time,” but indicated that he ultimately couldn’t turn down a cigarette offer from the president.
ITK checked the official White House visitor records, which show a “William Joel” paid a visit to the executive mansion last December, the same date as the Kennedy Center Honors. Joel was one of last year’s honorees.
Neither the White House nor Joel’s representative responded to requests for comment.
The commander in chief was heard on an open mic telling an official at an event last year that it was Michelle ObamaMichelle ObamaOvernight Tech: Facebook's Sandberg comes to Washington | Senate faces new surveillance fight | Warren enters privacy debate Michelle Obama signs up for Snapchat Michelle Obama: 'It's time for us to come together' MORE who “scared” him into quitting smoking. A smiling Obama said at the time, “I haven’t had a cigarette in six years … that’s because I’m scared of my wife.”
Obama said in 2009 that he “constantly” struggles with cigarettes. “Have I fallen off the wagon sometimes? Yes. Am I a daily smoker, a constant smoker? No,” he said at the news conference five years ago. “I would say that I am 95 percent cured,” Obama said, “But there are times where … There are times where I mess up.”