“Unfortunately, you know, the president can’t,” said Collins when asked if Obama ate at the lunch meeting.
What? This is something a medieval king or a Third World dictator would do, not only paranoid, but think about this in the modern age:
1. Why would you put someone's life at risk if you feared poison in the food? There aren't devices that can test food for toxins available?
2. Is Obama this paranoid that he thinks Senate Republicans would poison themselves just to kill him? And Democrats said that Nixon was paranoid.
3. There are plenty of slow-acting poisons that would not affect a food taster soon enough to be useful, but would certainly kill hours to days later.
UPDATE: The March 15, 2013 Daily Mail (not one of Britain's more impressive newspapers) reports that:
In November 2010, before the President landed for a state visit to India, the local media reported that a team of doctors from the JJ Hospital in Mumbai were called to serve as food tasters for the visit.
'While the president will travel with his own food tasters, the protocol requires that we should also provide some from our end,' Dean TP Lahane, Dean of JJ hospital, told the Mumbai Mirror.
One of the unnamed designated tasters said they would be tasting the food but would also be storing samples in the case of an investigation.
When Mr Obama traveled to the City of Lights in 2009, a French waiter told the AFP that when la famille Obama turned up at La Fontaine de Mars restaurant, there was a member of the security team who tasted all the dishes.UPDATE 2: I am seeing indications that this is not new to Obama. It still seems like a pretty bizarre practice, however, just because there are so many slow-acting poisons that could be used. As an example, some years back, a member of Mensa somewhere down South killed a neighbor that he didn't like with thallium. The method by which he was caught is proof that arrogance often beats intelligence. Thallium often takes 15-20 days for it kill. I would think that this would be the case for many heavy metal poisons -- slow-acting, so a taster won't notice it, and relatively easy to test for in a food sample.
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