Twice on Wednesday and again Thursday morning, Obama traveled to a lakefront apartment building near his Chicago home to work out with a friend at his gym. On Wednesday night, Obama also spent an hour at the East Bank Club, a mammoth exercise facility just north of the city's famous business Loop where he is known to play basketball.
On the former occasions, reporters accompanying Obama saw him get in and out of an SUV wearing a baseball hat, white T-shirt and black sweat pants. On the visit to the East Bank Club, Obama was dressed casually as if going out to dinner, wearing slacks, a blue blazer and flip-flops.
A distinct lack of visible sweat on the Illinois senator triggered questions about whether he was actually exercising or using the gym visits as cover for conducting vice presidential vetting or interviews.
Obama spokesman Bill Burton e-mailed a succinct, two-word answer: "Working out."
That view held credence among some of the photographers who regularly accompany Obama. They said that even when he shot hoops earlier this year with members of the University of North Carolina varsity men's basketball team, they didn't see Obama sweat.