Now that marijuana is legal in Colorado, the new slogan may just be "When in Denver." In a nod to his past life as a member of the "Choom Gang," President Barack Obama was offered a joint while visiting Denver, Colorado Tuesday night. The president didn't take it, because duty and TV cameras call, but he didn't exactly say "no" either. Obama let out a hearty laugh as he proceeded to make his way down the handshake line.
Yes, Obama did leave the generous joint man hanging, but it's not like he didn't enjoy himself at all while visiting Denver. The Bear was indeed loose during his Tuesday night stop — the first part of a three-day trip to Colorado and Texas — as he hung out in a bar shooting pool and sipping pints of beer with Gov. John Hickenlooper. From the photo ops, it's easy to see that though Obama turned down the "you wanna hit it?" offer, he was in full agreement with the shouts of "get that man a beer."
According to the White House, Obama made the Denver trip to break away from Washington politics and meet with people "who’ve written him letters and whose stories...resonate with folks from across the country." One woman Obama reportedly met with Tuesday night was a Colorado resident named Alex, who received a raise because her boss was inspired by the president's State of the Union address in January.
But in addition to Alex and others who wrote him letters, Obama also had an unexpected meeting with the mysterious Horse Head Man. The unlikely photo op sped through Twitter feeds like Secretariat at the 1973 Belmont Stakes.
It was the weed offer, though, that really made the night. In case anyone needs video confirmation, the generous joint man posted a video of Obama's kinda-sorta refusal on his Instagram page with the hashtags #legalizeit and #iinhaled. The latter of which is (most likely) a reference to former President Bill Clinton's assertion that yes, he smoked dope, but no, he didn't inhale.
Maybe 2014 Obama would laugh off a joint offer, but what about 1970s Obama, full-fledged member of the so-called "Choom Gang"? According to biographer David Maraniss, Obama indulged himself a bit while a high school student at the Punahou School in Honolulu. He was a true choom trendsetter:
As a member of the Choom Gang, Barry Obama was known for starting a few pot-smoking trends. The first was called “TA,” short for “total absorption.” To place this in the physical and political context of another young man who would grow up to be president, TA was the antithesis of Bill Clinton’s claim that as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford he smoked dope but never inhaled.
According to Maraniss, Obama also popularized "roof fits," which goes something like this:
[When] chooming in the car all the windows had to be rolled up so no smoke blew out and went to waste; when the pot was gone, they tilted their heads back and sucked in the last bit of smoke from the ceiling.
With marijuana now legal in Colorado, did Obama secretly show off his total absorption and roof hits with the generous joint man and Gov. Hickenlooper? I guess we'll just have to hear it from the horse's mouth.