Obama and Jerry Seinfeld’s Stress Management Approach Correlates to Honest Behavior, According to Experts

Paul McCartney may have once joked that former President Barack Obama would punch him out, but for the most part, the former president is the epitome of good behavior. He may not be a Boy Scout, but when Obama gives a speech, it is clear, concise, and free of curse words. Yet the former president admitted to Jerry Seinfeld that he does indeed swear. Here’s what we found out.

Jerry Seinfeld laughing in a tuxedo
Jerry Seinfeld | Alex Wong/Getty Images

Does Barack Obama actually curse?

Barack Obama is one of those presidents who can give the illusion that he’s opening up more than he actually is. He seems to be a very private man, so this isn’t a bad thing. With so many cameras aimed his way, it probably pays off to keep some things to himself. So when Jerry Seinfeld asked Obama if he curses, the former president admitted he did, without actually cursing.

According to Business Insider, Seinfeld asked, “What kind of language do people use —” Before he could finish, Obama jumped in, and said, “English.” Seinfeld refused to be sidetracked by Obama’s humorous answer, and asked, “Does [cursing] help with your stress level?” In his typical nonchalant manner, Obama replied, “I curse. I curse.”

Now what sort of words he uses when cursing never came up. Instead, Seinfeld said, “‘This rat bastard comes in here…’ You blow off a little steam.” Obama agreed, and said, “Yeah. Bad stuff, or stupid stuff, is happening constantly, every day. So you have to just be able to make fun of that.”

Is swearing a sign of honesty?

While many parents try to teach their children not to swear, it inevitably works its way in. Whether kids learn it at home or at school, learn they will. Now science indicates there is some correlation between cussing and telling the truth. 

The Cut reported on a three-part study called Social Psychological and Personality Science. The study recruited several volunteers to rate how truthful they are and how much they cuss; the second part looked at status updates from the Facebook application myPersonality; the third part took into account how much each state was prone to telling the truth using Facebook as well. 

The study suggests that those who tend to swear a lot are more honest. Whether this means that Abraham Lincoln, a President who is legendary for his honesty and is often referred to as ‘Honest Abe,’ spent much of his time cursing is unclear. 

What other ways does Barack Obama cope with stress?

Obama appears to be healthy for the most part, but like any human, he does have a few unhealthy coping mechanisms that he might like to kick. For example, the former President has admitted that he has struggled to quit smoking. He reportedly stopped when he moved into the White House.

Barack Obama also has another bad habit that he shares with many Americans. According to Share America, Obama can’t stop checking his phone. Whether it was to see if someone had tagged him in a Facebook post, or if he was checking for an important email from a foreign dignitary is unclear. Perhaps he was playing a quick game of Candy Crush.