President Obama appeared exceedingly sleepy at the annual National Prayer Breakfast today, looking like he was having trouble staying awake as others spoke and delivering his own remarks ponderously, with heavy eyelids and a tired visage.
Obama, who rarely holds a publicly announced event before 10:00 am and is known to be a nighthawk, was forced to show up at the breakfast at 7:55 am.
While listening to the warmup speakers, the president’s eyes were frequently downcast, he appeared drawn, and he was chewing gum, presumably the Nicorette he is known to use to satisfy his nicotine addiction without smoking. He occasionally brushed a finger onto an eye, as if trying to remove morning crust or wetness. He sometimes seemed to miss his cues to laugh or smile politely at jokes.
Obama appeared to labor particularly hard to stay awake while opera singer Andrea Bocelli performed a dirge-like classical song accompanied only by piano.
The president perked up a bit during the keynote address by pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson, who spoke of his rise from poverty and the need for better education in America – though Obama appeared to begin getting sleepy again when Carson started promoting a flat tax.
UPDATE: Here’s a bit of video from Obama’s performance. Notice he comes alive a bit toward the end, though in a kind of petulant way.