- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 26, 2008

CHICAGO (AP) - Soon-to-be president Barack Obama said he is not worried about his own security, despite a higher level of threats against him than any other president-elect in history.

Since Obama’s election, law enforcement officials have seen potential threatening writings, racist Internet postings and other troubling activity popping up. But Obama said in an interview with Barbara Walters that he never thinks about his safety.

“Part of it because I’ve got this pretty terrific crew of Secret Service guys that follow me everywhere I go, but also because I have a deep religious faith and faith in people that carries me through the day,” he said. “And my job is just to make sure I’m doing my job, and if I do, I can’t worry about that kind of stuff.”

In all the stress of the transition, Obama said he’s trying to eat healthy food, work out regularly and refrain from smoking now that the campaign is over, but he did not say he has quit cigarettes entirely.

Obama, a smoker who has quit but admitted occasional relapses, said in the interview that he fell “off the wagon during the campaign” a few times.

He did not directly answer her question about whether he is sneaking an occasional cigarette now amid the intense pressure of building his administration and the countdown to his swearing-in on Jan. 20.

“Part of what I think comes with this role as president is that you’re not perfect but hopefully you’re trying to set a good example for people, and that starts with my two kids,” Obama said in the interview that aired Wednesday on ABC-TV.

He said he’s been trying to stay healthy since the days of burgers on the campaign trail. The president-elect works out nearly every day, and says he’s watching his diet too.

“I’ve been trying to stay fit,” he said.

Obama’s doctor said last spring that he was in excellent health at the time of his last checkup the previous year, but he has a family history of cancer.

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