In Denver, Obama doesn’t smoke, doesn’t inhale

McClatchy Washington BureauJuly 9, 2014 


President Barack Obama plays pool at Wynkoop Brewing Co. with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, rear, on Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in Denver.


President Barack Obama amped up his just-a-regular-guy routine with a visit to Denver Tuesday night – playing a round of pool in a bar where he was apparently offered a puff on a joint.

“You want a hit, man?” one customer shouted as Obama greeted locals at the Wazee Supper Club and later at the Wynkoop Brewing Company.

According to a photo on Instagram, Obama laughed, but didn’t partake of the marijuana cigarette.

“Asked him if he wanted a hit of pot...he laughed!” wrote the Colorado man, Matt Anton.

The White House pool report noted it wasn’t the first offer of free pot in the state that has legalized the sale of recreational marijuana: along the motorcade route into town, one group of onlookers held a "Free weed for Obama" sign.

In an autobiography published in 1995, "Dreams From My Father," Obama disclosed his use of marijuana and cocaine as a teenager and acknowledged it publicly during his candidacy.

The outing was the most unscripted yet for Obama, whose recent forays into ice cream parlors and even a Chipotle are more careful, orchestrated campaign-style events than they may appear -- with a White House video crew trailing the president.

The pot wasn’t the only offscript moment: Obama shook hands with a well-wisher wearing a horse head mask (it’s a thing, see here) and later posed for a picture next to a metal gorilla.

There were more presidential moments: the White House pool notes that Obama gave a military challenge coin to Kalynne May Arrick, a Tyler, Texas woman who said he gave her the coin after she told him that her older brother, Marine Sgt. Kenneth May, had been killed in Afghanistan in 2010.

“This is for your brother," Obama told her, noting that he usually gives the coins to vets who collect them, Arrick said.

Obama and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, one of the founders of the Wynkoop, eventually made their way to a bar on the second floor and ordered beers in preparation for a round of pool.

The pool report notes that as photographers and reporters were begun to be escorted out, Obama “suddenly got hot, sinking multiple shots and winning the game. ‘Did you record that?’ Obama asked the pool.

Obama delivered remarks on the economy in Denver before heading to a fundraiser. En route to the airport for a trip to Texas: a "Yes We Cannabis" sign was visible as the motorcade drove back toward the highway.

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