Did President Obama Chew Nicorette Gum During 2013 Inauguration Events?

Obama Chewing Nicorette Gum?
An official photograph of President Barack Obama taken in the summer of 2011 caused controversy when sharp-eyed observers noted a piece of gum - perhaps Nicorette - sitting on Obama's desk in the White House. Flickr.com / White House

President Barack Obama was seen chewing gum during the 2013 Inaugural Parade, and possibly at other points during the events of his Second Inaugural. The sight of the supposedly-former smoker chomping gum brought one question to the minds of many who viewed the historic day's proceedings: Was it Nicorette, or just plain old Juicy Fruit?

The Internet erupted with speculation about the president's choice in gum brand on Monday shortly after he was captured on live TV chewing gum during the Inaugural Parade in Washington, D.C. Many people immediately assumed it was Nicorette - a type of gum used to aid smokers who are trying to quit the unhealthy habit - though no solid evidence emerged to prove that it wasn't just Trident.

It appears that though first lady Michelle Obama says her husband quit cigarettes a couple years ago after smoking for 30 years, the perception of him as a smoker relying on an occasional nicotine fix to get through the grueling duties of ruling the Free World still endures in the minds of many who follow the presidency.

And on Monday the rumors were rampant, so much so that the word "Nicorette" trended nationally on Twitter for a good period of time that afternoon, during the heart of the inaugural proceedings.

Like many other adherents of the popular social media site, Twitter user @SallyZepp apparently just assumed that Obama was chewing Nicorette, despite the lack of corroborating evidence. Once a smoker struggling to quit, always a nicotine addict, it seems for such observers:

"Long day for . Chewing Nicorette gum like a mad man b/c he cannot have a cigarette in public view," @SallyZepp tweeted.

And @SexySportsFan took it a step further, calling on Obama to simply smoke a cigarette if he really is still addicted to nicotine:

"Fire up a cigarette Obama..these people are trippin over your gum. Break Out those Newports and smoke the whole pack so they can STHU," she tweeted.

But Twitter user @FL_Chelle isn't buying into the Nicorette hype, and she responded to @SexySportsFan by observing that the president had other, less obvious, options if he wanted to get a nicotine dose in without blatantly chewing Nicorette gum, suggesting that she believes it was more likely just a stick of Doublemint:

"Nicorette also makes a small TicTac-like item and less noticeable," she tweeted in response to @SexySportsFan's cigarette-endorsing tweet.

And some Twitter users, like @AlexWagner, aren't as concerned with the type of gum he was chewing as with what they perceive as the tackiness of the president chomping on gum at such a high-profile, historic event:

"President Obama is chewing gum almost as aggressively as I do. I think my mom would prefer he spit it out. Soon," she tweeted.

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