The president woke up in Belgium on Thursday to find images of his morning workout — puffy cheeks, squinty eyes and all — splashed across papers and websites on two continents. Someone, apparently a fellow exerciser, captured the president's routine on a smartphone and gave the images to the Polish media.
The rare, candid video of a man who spends much of his life in meticulously staged settings was fast news. In Warsaw, where Obama delivered a major address on benefits of a free and open society on Wednesday, the tabloid newspaper Fakt put the grainy images of Obama on the front page. The photo of the president, wearing a black track suit and doing a squatting butterfly chest exercise, was accompanied by a headline boasting that the Poles had cracked Obama's security.
"Hotel guests were not asked to leave the gym," said Brian Leary, Secret Service spokesman. "Nor were they asked to refrain from taking pictures."
The risk of being caught in an unflattering moment — or, in this case, yawning on the weight machine — is one Obama has been willing to take in order to get in a workout. The president is diligent about staying in shape, even when his days are packed with high-pressure meetings, speeches and late-night dinners with world leaders. The Secret Service rarely blocks all access to the hotel gym during these sessions, mindful to limit the inconvenience for guests or