“Man, I could really go for a poppy with a schmear right now.” Image via

In an interview with The Forward that covered such weighty issues as the Iran nuclear deal and anti-Semitism, President Obama revealed a little-known secret about his identity: he was an H&H Bagel nut. In fact, he would walk the 30 blocks from his apartment on 109th street near Amsterdam to the bagel store on 80th and Broadway.

In an interview with Forward editor Jane Eisner, Obama said he found it “shocking” that H&H had closed.

And yet it happened under his watch and he didn’t lift a finger to stop it. He could have told the marshals who seized the store to “Stand down! This is an order from your president!” He could have sent in the Marines, the USDA, maybe the Forest Service? Do they have bagel jurisdiction?

Thanks Obama.

The relevant portion of the transcript is below. Read the whole transcript here and check out the story here.

Q: Thank you. One last question. One of my daughters wants to know, what’s your favorite bagel flavor?

THE PRESIDENT: I was always a big poppy seed guy.

Q: Poppy seed.

h&hTHE PRESIDENT: So the poppy seed bagels at H&H Bagels — which somebody told me they closed —

BEN RHODES: They closed.

Q: It’s closed, yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Which is shocking.

MR. RHODES: My school was a block from H&H bagels.

THE PRESIDENT: I mean, I would walk down from —

MR. RHODES: Columbia.

THE PRESIDENT: — Columbia just to get H&H bagels on Saturdays or on the weekends.

Q: And what do you like on a poppy seed?

THE PRESIDENT: Just a schmear.

Q: Just a schmear.

THE PRESIDENT: Lox and capers okay, but generally just your basic schmear.

Read here about the “new” H&H that’s getting ready to open in the neighborhood soon.

ABSURDITY, FOOD, NEWS | 46 comments | permalink
    1. Beth says:

      Well it comes as no surprise to me that O’Clueless would prioritize bagels over, say, national security. Who wants to think about the depressing stuff. 2016 can’t oome soon enough.

      • BMAC says:


        • Ted says:

          Oh Beth be careful what you wish for. You may rue the day if in 2016 nationalism Trumps reason.

          • Independent says:

            Oh Beth be careful what you wish for. You may rue the day if in 2016 nationalism Trumps reason.

            1.) Nationalism is entirely reasonable.
            (As long as it is invoked by peoples who enjoy favored, privileged status– i.e., “peoples of color” or “indigenous peoples”; perennial victims of white racism and imperialism, nationalism is not only deemed legitimate but even noble and righteous. When nationalism is invoked by Whites with European ancestry, however…)

            2.) Of all the candidates in this campaign, Trump is the only one who has been consistently and unequivocally advocating a sane, reasonable and patriotic immigration policy that places Americans (and especially, the American worker) first.

            3.) Sadly, there would appear to be little reason to trust that Trump’s pronouncements reflect anything more than a narcissistic opportunism on his part. Or even a plot to sabotage the Republicans and ensure that a Democrat wins the Presidency in 2016. It has been suggested, specifically, that Trump’s candidacy is being waged for the benefit of one Ms. H. Rodham-Clinton. Given Trump’s past support and praise for Ms. Rodham-Clinton, together with the latter’s record and manifest character and style, I find the possibility that Trump could be shilling for her to be quite plausible.

            4.) Even if Trump could be trusted to live-up to his rhetoric, if elected, there are at least a few other reasons to be less-than enthusiastic or even confident about the prospect of a Trump presidency. (Not the least of which is Trump’s defense of the utterly detestable, vile Planned Murderhood— a thoroughly pernicious entity even without whatever additional depravity on their part may have been exposed in the revealing videos that were the subject of much attention and controversy not long ago.)

            5.) Still, it is difficult to imagine how Trump could be much worse than any of the hacks, shills, ethnomasochists, traitors and puppets that he is currently competing with. Or, for that matter, how he could be worse than the incumbent, an Affirmative Action mediocrity*, who is unprecedented in his championship of cultural Marxism.

            *Does anyone honestly believe that Barack Hussein Obama would have even run for president in the first place in 2008, much less have been elected twice, had he not had the First Black President thing going for him?

      • Raymond Marble says:

        Yeah! I can’t believe that the POTUS would spend time with long, detailed answers about foreign policy, Iran, Israel, and American Jews!

        In fact, the weather here has been pretty crappy, why can’t our so-called President do something about that! I mean, we pay our taxes, the least that man could do is lower the humidity!

      • Jerry says:

        FYI: I’m a strong supporter of President Obama, including what I think is his administration’s sensible national security/foreign policy. Just thought there should be another voice below your wholly unnecessary negative comment.

        And I also miss H&H Bagels and think it’s cool that the President was a patron when he lived here!

      • grandmasterbeta says:

        Congrats Beth, You’ve won both First AND Stupidest comment for this thread! I’m sure you can’t wait for President Trump to eat his bagel with a fork and knife.

      • Mark says:

        Obitter much?

      • VB says:

        Oh come on, shame on YOU Beth for making such a ridiculous comment. You clearly didn’t take the time to read the whole transcript of the interview or you would’ve seen that he was asked and answered more serious questions. The light-hearted bagel question came right at the end. Hardly prioritizing. And let’s face it, who doesn’t miss H&H Bagels.

      • 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

        I too am looking forward to the end of Obama’s second term. I disagree with almost all of his policies and feel that he has been extremely partisan and divisive. It will be nice to have a new administration perhaps with a fresh perspective.

        In terms of bagel shops, I used to like Columbia Bagels back in the day. It was around 110th and Broadway. Not sure when they closed.

    2. DMH says:

      Just wait till Malia brings him to Bagel Talk. 🙂

    3. Chris says:

      When O moves to NYC in 2016 he can open up a bagel shop to support his family. I expect he will be broke like the Clintons were when they moved here.

    4. Steve says:

      And they say that Obama isn’t pro-Israel enough. I mean, a bagel with a schmear…


    5. Julia says:

      Wow! a lot of nastiness in just the first few comments. Lighten up–the man can like bagels, can’t he?!

    6. Ted says:

      I could say that this article is yet another Republican schmear campaign but that’s just too easy.

      I could say that Obama’s plan to save H&H was full of holes but again, easy.

      No instead let’s just hope someone has a photo of the young Barack Obama in the 4am post bar crawl bagel line back in the day.

    7. Ron says:

      During the President’s time in the neighborhood He must have known the late lamented Columbia Bagels at 110th & Broadway. In my opinion a far better bagel than B&H’s.

    8. Scott says:

      I’m calling BS on him walking 30 blocks for an overpriced bagel. No one does that.

    9. Tee says:

      Unfortunately, by the time Obama lived in NYC the traditional bagel had all but disappeared. Until the invention of a bagel making machine in the early 60’s bagels were hand made, dropped in boiling water then baked. Those bagels were dense and chewy and came either plain or salted. A favorite Sunday brunch item was a bagel, lox and a schmear. Then bagels became big, puffy and in many varieties. Lox became mostly supplanted by the much blander nova.

      I used to love going to the bagel/bialy bakery on the lower east side on Grand near Essex. You could watch the bakers at work and buy bagels & bialys hot from the oven. Heaven! Unfortunately it became a victim of the bagel machines and closed, probably in the early 70’s.

      • Ted says:

        I agree that at some point H&H went the way of dough conditioners which are the bane of real bagel making but in the early 80’s H&H were the real deal. When I came here in ’88 they were still great bagels. They arrived pre-formed on trucks (I have no idea what the process was before they arrived at 80th and Bway) and they were dropped in boiling water by hand and moved to the ovens by hand. I would say the decline of the H&H bagel was somewhere in the mid 90’s but others may have a clearer recollection.

    10. Lynn says:

      For all you Obama haters, you’re just jealous because history will acknowledge he was one of the best Presidents we ever had.

      • zeus says:

        Your optimism is catching.
        One of the best presidents ever?
        Can you name ones better than him?
        Is he number 1, 2, 3?
        I’d really like to know your take on
        this matter.

    11. ira Gershenhorn says:

      Obama did not raise the bagel question. I think its wonderful that he knows what bagels are and that he likes bagels. I never cared for H&H bagels myself – found them too sweet. And they deserved to close for their labor practices. But at 80cents per at Fairway, they’ve become a luxury item.

    12. Justina says:

      Yup bagels, the country is falling apart, and his priority is bagels.

      • Sean says:

        How is this country falling apart? It began with Reagan. What we need is a blind albino Chinese lesbian as president to get things really started. It has been a 30 year march to the sea with out corporate brethren.

    13. Lynn says:

      Justina, you sound like you are Trump’s speechwriter – full of BS – you’re not clever just misguided.

      • Independent says:

        I see, so anyone who takes a negative view of our current President must be a Trump supporter. Or is it anyone who posts silly comments here? If the latter, then there are an awful lot of closeted Trump supporters here. (Including…)

      • Independent says:

        If Trump didn’t exist, you’d have to invent him. Bringing him in the way you did here was absurd.

    14. Richard says:

      Well Obama and H&H have something in common: both are way overrated and suck.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        when did the UWS become so full of angry trolls?

        • zeus says:

          Bruce old chum,
          You may not be a troll, but some of your comments sure make some others angry.
          If you are not a part of the problem, you are not a part of the solution.

        • richard says:

          Troll? At least you didn’t call me a racist for criticizing Obama and Bagels.
          I guess the only free speech allowed is the pinko liberal propaganda you and the other socialists here in the Peoples Republic of the UWS allow.

      • Independent says:

        That was a fairly incisive and witty comment. Too bad you diminished it (at least somewhat) with the gratuitous use of a word that, in the context being used (i.e., as a pejorative insult), is a crude, ugly, puerile, lowbrow reference to certain less-than-wholesome sexual practices.

        As an adolescent, I was reprimanded for using such language. Today, I watch with dismay as even educated, “respectable” adults use it with abandon, in public, in front of children, even on the air.

        But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.

        ~ George Orwell
        “Politics and the English Language,” 1946
        ( )

        Also, isn’t there an implicit hypocrisy (and a rather striking one at that) on the part of most of the individuals who use terms such as “suck” and other references to the aforementioned less-than-wholesome sexual practices as pejoratives and insults? After all, the available evidence clearly suggests that most of these same individuals would engage in (or at least expect to engage in) one or more said practices– not only with people whom they merely claimed to respect or even love but even with the one person whom they claim to love, respect and cherish above all others. Yet, only by considering the acts-in-question demeaning and degrading, can using references to them as pejoratives and insults make any sense. There is an obvious contradiction here. One cannot have it both ways.

        • zeus says:

          “less-than-wholesome sexual practices”

          Like why is it as you stated?
          It was done 4,000 years ago, and will be done 4,000 years from now, assuming we’ll survive another 4,000 years.

        • Ted says:

          Actually you can have it both ways. In language context counts for a lot. There was a wonderful video making the rounds on the versatility of the F word and how it can be positive or negative, a noun, an adverb, an adjective and…well lots of things. The sacred and the profane are sometimes closer than people would like to admit.

        • Mark says:

          Apparently someone doesn’t get that “brevity is the soul of wit”.

    15. Alan says:

      Thank you Mr.President, we all miss H&H can someone please contact Mr. Toro and get the recipe or can we all chip in to find him a new location??

    16. UWSHebrew says:

      Such obvious slick pandering, discussing bagels (“schmear”) to American Jews so they can sidestep the real issue: Iran. This man has put Israel, and the world for that matter, in terrible danger because of his Iran deal. And American Jews fall for it and slobber all over him. Except for me.

      • Mark says:

        I love watching the anti-Obama side continually respond to everything with histrionics and emotion. It’s extremely rare to read an opinion from that side where it doesn’t devolve into embarrassing hysteria.