August 13th, 2009
01:33 PM ET

Surgeon general pick a paid adviser to Burger King

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/13/jc.art.drb..jpg caption=" President Obama has nominated a paid consultant for Burger King to be the nation's top doctor."]

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In the midst of perhaps the most contentious national debate since the Vietnam War, President Obama has nominated a paid consultant for Burger King to be the nation's top doctor.

Can you spell tone-deaf?

Dr. Regina Benjamin has been paid 10-thousand dollars since last year to serve on a scientific advisory board for the company that brings us the Whopper and the B-K Triple Stacker.

According to the Washington Times, Burger King says the doctor was on the company's nutritional advisory panel... which is meant to "promote balanced diets and active lifestyle choices."

The Department of Health and Human Services says Benjamin was advocating for food that was lower in salt and recommending that nutritional information appear on packaging. They add that she will resign from Burger King once she's confirmed by the Senate as surgeon general and will "continue to promote healthy eating and exercise." You want fries with that?

But, many aren't buying it and see a conflict of interest. After all, Burger King is still a fast food joint. And, in a nation where one-third of adults are obese, fast food restaurants aren't helping any.

Since her nomination, Dr. Benjamin has won support from both sides of the aisle, particularly for running a health clinic for the poor after Hurricane Katrina – but there's also been criticism. As we reported in the Cafferty File last month, some believe that the president's selection of an overweight candidate for the nation's top doctor sent the wrong message. Now we find out she works for Burger King.

SO HERE'S THE QUESTION:What does it say that the president's nominee for surgeon general is a paid adviser to Burger King?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Walt in California
Jack, Thank goodness fast food restaurants are consulting doctor and nutritionists to help provide healthier choices. When I was a kid, you got fries. Now I see that kids have the option of apple slices or yogurt. It is actually possible to get reasonably nutritious meals at fast food places. It's not her fault if a family chooses the Whopper, as you seem to enjoy, over the healthier options that are now available.

Brandon in Olympia, Washington
Every gym teacher I ever had was overweight. How is this any different? Just like so many other things, it's do as I say not as I do.

Deborah in Los Angeles
With all of the critical stuff going on in this country and the world, we're gonna create a crisis here? So now we are going to criticize Dr. Benjamin for advising Burger King to reduce salt content and post nutrition information on their offerings? Isn't that what we want fast food companies to do? Give me a break!

DS in San Diego
Ten thousand dollars? If that's all we have to worry about after Cheney and Paulson, I can start sleeping again now. What happened to looking at people's qualifications?


There is a conflict of interest here. Junk food chain restaurants and giant food corporations are poisoning our lives. They sell cheap food, but at what cost: rampant obesity, diabetes in children, hormone-pumped meat, poultry, and dairy products.

Having a paid advisor from Burger King as a surgeon general is akin to putting Bernie Madoff in charge of your portfolio, letting Michael Vick watch your dogs, or getting your information about health care from Sarah Palin.

Filed under: Surgeon general
soundoff (198 Responses)
  1. Storm

    It depends on what Burger King is being advised on. If it's a healthier menu, then no, it doesn't matter.

    Fennville, MI

    August 13, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  2. Cameron in SF, CA

    Would you be on an advisory board to a cigarette company if you didn't believe smoking was healthy? I would only want to align myself with organizations that I believed were there to help our country slim down. Obviously she's wasn't effective or influential enough to encourage them to make their menu healthier. Didn't BK just add an item to it's menu called the "Angry" DOUBLE Whopper with cheese and bacon and packs a "Whopping" 1120 calories and 25g of SATURATED fat?? She just helping those fast-food businesses get us fatter and fatter.

    August 13, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  3. Vinnie Vino


    It is going to tell kids she is the new bugar king because it looks like she has enjoyed enough of them and it's o.k. to eat alot of them...

    Vinnie Vino
    Central Islip, N.Y.

    August 13, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  4. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    I think it says that people are looking for any excuse to be disagreeable. If she worked for Jolly Green Giant, people would complain that there is too much starch in their niblets.

    August 13, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  5. al pearis

    Let's try to turn this into a positive. She could lead by example by changing her eating habits, going on a diet and exercise program, challenging others to participate with her, and see who can lose the most.

    August 13, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  6. paul westminster maryland

    It says that if he truly has high regard for people that like Whoppers, he should put Sarah Palin in charge of the FCC to provide oversight and limit media misinformation.

    August 13, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  7. Karen, Spring City

    It says that her apointment was truly a Whopper outside the bun!

    August 13, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  8. Tom Huntington, NY

    It says, someone's telling a Whopper !

    August 13, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  9. Ruie - Brownstown

    Dear Jack: "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up. . ." Anyone remember that one? Seems to me I remember Former Surgeon General Dr. Everett C. Koop advertising for Lifeline.

    Well, all I can say is make mine a whopper – and don't hold the cheese.

    August 13, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  10. Jerry B. Oklahoma City, OK

    It says that she had a life before being nominated to be Surgeon General. Who cares if she is on the Burger King Nutritional Committee? As long as she can do the job and is qualified that is what is important.

    August 13, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  11. Elliot

    I don't think it says much because maybe she was advising to make it healthier place. Who knows? I am giving her the benefit of the dought. I am pretty sure she meets the qualifications so if Obama wanted her I say it is totally ok.

    August 13, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  12. honestjohn in Vermont

    It says that Obama could have made a far better choice for surgeon general, especially all the time he has spent finding a candidate. Maybe we can all now begin to appreciate the nutritional value of a BK Triple Stacker and a large side of fries.

    August 13, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  13. RJ from Lake,MI

    It says President Obama is as much controlled by special interest as George Bush was! President Obama is becoming more and more a one termer, I voted for him but he has not fullfilled ant of his campaign promises that concerns my family. All he has done is come up with more liberal free giveaways in which my middle class butt will have to pay for!

    August 13, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  14. Pugas-AZ

    Sending the wrong message seems to be the "in" thing today. Burger gueen for a day. Isn't that special. It seems that we are going to be expecting less and less from our politicans as we continue to travel down the road towards mediocrity. Let's all continue munching on our fries as the country slips further into the sunset.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  15. D. in NH

    Jack, you and everyone else that has your knickers in a knot should just calm down on this one. So what if she was advising Burger King? Do people really think she'd somehow have the power to line their pockets? She's already said she would step down if confirmed. If we failed to nominate someone just because they had been on an advisory board, we'd have a very different government. As for her being overweight? Get over it.

    By the way, some of us are getting a little sick and tired of the food police. We ought to be able to eat what we want, when we want without someone staring at us like we're crackpots.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  16. Don in Minden, Louisiana

    Not to mention that she's obese herself. I don't get haircuts from bald barbers, I don't eat food from skinny cooks, and I don't take exercise advice from fat people.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  17. Bev

    Jack, how is this a bad thing. At least she can advise them of more healthier options than the usual fatty stuff they have to buy. At least she is not lining her pockets doing work that will benefit society at large. You can't expect her to do it for free. What's with your question today jack? Have you read Sanford's "fight for survival in the newspapers today?" Don't you have another "Applachain hike" question

    August 13, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  18. Roberta

    No, it's of no consequence that she works for (advisory ) Burger King.
    However, being overweight is, in my opinion, a detriment in her being Surgeon General, as she should be a role model for the rest of the country.( especially if she is advocating healthy eating).

    August 13, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  19. Ronald Holst

    What Jack ? Man I have only one this to to say This Is a Whopper of a story .

    August 13, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  20. Susan in NC

    Who better to understand what's in all that fast food we appear to be addicted to than this woman. We can hope that she will bring that knowledge to her position and, in turn, do something to improve this industry.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  21. Fernando McGregor

    There is a conflict of interest here.
    Junk food chains, and giant food corporations are poisoning our lives. They sell cheap food, but at what cost: rampant obesity, diabetes in children, hormone pumped meat, poultry, and dairy products...
    Enough of corporations ruling our lives, We The People, not corporations elected the people in power. they should return the courtesy and confidence we put in them, by appointing people with no conflict of interests in those cabinet positions.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  22. Nathan from Indiana

    It says "Have it your way."

    August 13, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  23. Jewel

    Who determines overweight? Jack, what is Dr. Benjamin's weight?

    August 13, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  24. Jim Bailey

    Maybe it explains why BK tastes better and is not as heavily salted as Mickey D's.
    More likely it says that the Washington Times would feel safer with a triple chinned white guy who was an advisor to Philip Morris.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  25. Karl from SF, CA

    Jack, I think it means she actually has a job and not living off a family trust and assuming it’s as a nutritional advisor to Burger King, it is in her realm of expertise and a large part of being Surgeon General. What is the conflict of interest if she resigns if confirmed? I also advise BK, you know? My advice is usually a number 4 with large fries and diet soda. The big difference is, she makes money at it and I pay money for it.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  26. Heidi from Arizona

    This is a new low. She had a job and now she's going to have a new job....ooh, I wonder if she also flipped burgers at McDonalds when she was a kid...now, there's a story!

    August 13, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  27. Ray, Florida

    I think it is good that she was advising Burger King on how to make their food more healthy. Of course she will need to resign if she is appointed surgeon general.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  28. Larry So Cali

    The master plan of distraction is working. Don't pay any notice to that man behind the curtain.... We need to talk about nazi symbols, and the person being led out of the meeting , and maybe someone was rude , And buger king, lets talk about everything exept the corrupt insurance industry...and reform ...Here is a little FACT you won't see being tlked about 0-K..

    Here Is The Most Important FACT Nobody is talking about...!!!

    Limbaugh makes 400 million a year.Hannity makes 200 million a year. Health Insurance company reps sit on the boards of "ALL" Major media and news outlets.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  29. Nancy

    Talk about a fox in the hen house.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  30. Deborah, Los Angeles

    With all of the critical stuff going on in this country and the world, we're gonna create a crisis here? So now we are going to criticize Dr. Benjamin for advising Burger King to reduce salt content and post nutrition information on their offerings? Isn't that what we WANT fast food companies to do? Give me a break!

    With all of her good works and competence, she was first criticized for her weight. Why don't we ask Dr. Benjamin for her birth certificate while we're at it. This will be the next hue and cry from the crazies...I can just see it. Sheesh!

    August 13, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  31. Matthew Schmitz Oxnard, CA

    It reminds me of his nominee for the Treasury Secretary who had Tax Fraud.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  32. Brandon - Olympia, Wa

    Every gym teacher I ever had was overweight. How is this any different? Just like so many other things, it's do as I say not as I do.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  33. mick, florida

    It says she's a lousy choice!

    August 13, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  34. Jill

    Jack, so what! EVERY fast food chain needs a nutritionist to help them change their menus to create a healthier America. Kudos to Dr. Benjamin!

    August 13, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  35. Margaret in TN

    It means people have way too much time on their hands. If the surgeon general continued to consult for Burger King, that would be a problem, advocating for BK to put nutrition labels on their food and decrease their salt content sounds good to me. However, it doesn't matter since she is resigning as soon as she is confirmed.

    Next topic!

    August 13, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  36. Rick

    Jack...In most issues, I support President Obama...But this time I don't think he will 'Have it his way'!

    August 13, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  37. John from Vista, CA

    Well, Jack, if I were a senator voting on her confirmation, my vote would be in the form of two words. "FAT CHANCE!"

    August 13, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  38. Bertina

    I think it's great, Jack. I don't see a conflict at all. The point you mentioned was that it was a NUTRITION panel she is on. That's a GOOD thing. I don't see a problem for a surgeon general to do that.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  39. amu

    Nothing at all. Being paid $10,000 only means that the good doctor had a life in the private sector. She was hardly bought and paid for.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  40. Richard

    Jack, it means that you are running out of ideas for the Cafferty file. Not important.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  41. Lauren

    Jack, it means they couldn't get Sanjay Gupta.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  42. Kevin Washington

    Its poosible she could have been a consultant , but that does not
    mean that burger king took all of her advise.
    Shes moving on to a different position . Give the lady her props
    she does have credentials
    kevin CA.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  43. Doug

    She's not only a Burger King advisor – she's a customer!

    August 13, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  44. Chris

    I think you are making a big deal out of nothing. He nomiated DR Benjamin because of what she has done for advocating healthy eating and lifestyles. It is disrespectful and unprofessional to point out her weight without knowing the details of her situation. She advocates healthier lifestyles, and in the case of Burger King she is doing what she can to help consumers make healthier choices. What more do you want?

    August 13, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  45. Annie, Atlanta

    Maybe the Whopper with or without cheese is better for us than we knew. I want fries AND a strawberry shake with that, please, just to balance things out.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  46. John P.

    Nothing wrong with giving advice to Burger King.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  47. Alex

    She was advising them on how to improve the nutrition of their products. Is that a bad thing? It's not a whopper of a problem!

    August 13, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  48. Tyler, Iowa

    No one better than Burger King to give us a health care plan that says, "Have it your way."

    August 13, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  49. Kevin From Bend Oregon

    That is Funny Jack Our Surgeon General is Gonna a person who works for Burger king. Damn So if president obama wants free whoppers he can go to his nomination for Surgeon General. That is Scary Jack She only knows about eating healthy Dos she know about cancer or does she know about heart attacks. Im sorry to say this but President Obama needs to Appoint a Doctor who knows about cancer and heart problems not about eating at burger king.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  50. Erin

    Well, BK did introduce sliced apples and called them "apple fries". Perhaps Dr. Benjamin was responsible for that. Sure fast food is a huge public health problem, but maybe Dr. Benjamin has been trying to change the system from within.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  51. Mark

    Jack, hiring a surgeon general who works for BK is not even close to the conflict of interest of the previous BUSH/CHENEY administration, when you consider the no bid contractss for companies they had involvement with, as well as a vice-president (Cheney) who's money is invested in keeping citizens in jail. The new surgeon general can be the poster girl why we shouldn't eat at BK.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  52. Grace

    ok I am not one to judge someone by how they look, but i was dumb founded when i watched Obama announce her as surgeon general.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  53. Aaron

    It says two things, first that she is capable of multitasking and secondly that she is occupying a job that someone else would have gotten since there is unemployment; can I call it a little greed?

    August 13, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  54. Marion/Birmingham

    It shows Obama is out of touch with what really needs to be addressed here in the USA. Obesity,costs us nearly 200 billion a year in Medical costs.
    Why not appoint Ronald McDonald,at least he has a Ronald McDonald house for those who have an illness,and they can stay almost free?

    August 13, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  55. Lauren

    Jack, it means they couldn't get Sanjay Gupta.

    I'm from New York, NY

    August 13, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  56. Jack Kramer in California

    This is no big deal. It seems she was trying to help Burger King improve their nuturition. It is up to individual people to make their own choices about what and how much to eat. We cannot blame the fast food restaurants. They would not sell it if people were not buying it.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  57. Robert

    I think that the fact the president has nominated an overweight, fast food adviser as surgeon general shows that perhaps he understands that obesity is an ever growing problem in this country, and that fast food is a major contributor to this problem.

    His choice in nominee shows that he is choosing someone who knows FIRST HAND about the problems causing obesity. It was probably a very intelligent choice. You're story didn't cover anything about her background except that it was as a burger king nutritional adviser. I want more information before I form an opinion on this nomination.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  58. Del

    Obama's choice for Surgeon General is just one more industry pick (read payoff) just like most every other cabinet choice the Administration has made. Certainly not the change I voted for in November.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  59. Derek Quinn

    Mr. Cafferty-
    You and I both know Dr. Benjamin's association with Burger King is irrelevant. Burger King gives 41,000 Americans jobs and feeds families for a reasonable price. There's no doubt in my mind that her intentions are genuine.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  60. Tyler

    Truly an interesting story. Pretty confusing choice... I don't know if this is insight into Obama's fascinating sense of humor or another one of his questionable choices (*cough* Tim Geithner *cough*) but this just has disaster written all over it. Who knows, maybe they'll start serving BK in high schools/middle schools. That sounds about right. Then again, as you said those Whoppers, no matter how damn vile and death-hasteningly unhealthy... they're just too delicious to pass up on from time-to-time, I haven't had one in a year or so, looks like that's about to change. *grabs the keys*

    Damnit! See, it's already working! Mrs. Benjamin has us right where she wants us! What position do you see The King filling?

    August 13, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  61. Tracie

    It says nothing. People have to be responsible for the choices they make in what they eat and how often they eat it.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  62. Cathy Goodman - Star Harbor, TX

    It says to me, Jack, that perhaps BK is trying to offer more healthy choices to Americans and asked a doctor to help in that effort. Must there be a sinister flavor to everything?

    August 13, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  63. Rhonda from Va

    What's the big deal about her being a consultant to Burger King? Seems to me that they were seeking her expertise on how to make their menu more nutritious and healthy and that's a good thing.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  64. Eric, Las Vegas, NV

    This says, to me, that: "Oh my God! She has/had a job before the White House???" I answered phones at a hair salon, once. This salon put out quite a few awful hair cuts. I got my hair cut somewhere else. I guess I'm evil.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  65. donovong

    Let me get this straight. dr. Benjamin worked for Burger King in a capacity that included RECOMMENDING BETTER NUTRITION, and you think that makes her unqualifed? Balderdash.

    And anyone who is serious that the fact that she may not be svelte disqualfies her from service, is horrendously narrow-minded. I don't remember any such criticism of Everet Koop, who was hardly eligible to model swimsuits.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  66. art

    Jack, so what shes a plus size woman, Did you ever lay eyes on that prior Surgeon Genera C Everet Koop who was as big as the goodyear blimp, get real jack. Shes qualified and she should be able to keep the cash till shes comfirmed.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  67. Bill Marshall

    I think it says you didn't listen to your own broadcast. You said that 'even though she was working for Burger King she was working to reduce salt and make nutrition information available. ' It takes courage to recommend something you believe your employer might not take too kindly. She is a good choice and everything I know about it came from your program.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  68. Will from Sunrise, Florida

    Honestly it's a gutsy move, because this is cannon fodder for the radical right here. And for once, there's a good reason for it: if the canidate remains under the influence of Burger King it would be an obvious conflict of interest. But frankly, it could be worse, he could be in the pocket of Big Tobbacco.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  69. mike khanukhov

    Hello Jack!! I think it does send the wrong message especialy if she is overweight! However pres. Obama should have also considered mr jack. Jack in the box is much tastier !

    August 13, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  70. jean jason orlando fl

    I do not see anything wrong with this Jack. We as human do what we feel. At least it has nothing to do with terrorism. Remember we live in an odd world and we should not be surprised of that minor thing.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  71. John C

    After this I would not be surprised if the President nominates the head of the Funeral Directors Union to direct the end of life counseling board in his Health Care plan.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  72. BM

    All I can say Jack is that I'm hoping this is a wopper and not true!

    August 13, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  73. sirjaxx

    America loves overweight black women. Just look how popular Oprah & Aunt Jememi have been in American Culture. At least she looks like one of us, and not one of those Pale & Sickly Vegetarians.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  74. gew ontario

    if she was promoting healther foods whats the problem

    August 13, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  75. Emma, San Luis Obispo, CA

    What does it say? Jack come on your looking for frenzy where there isn't any but forgive me if I quote, "Burger King says the doctor was on the company’s nutritional advisory panel… which is meant to “promote balanced diets and active lifestyle choices.”

    The Department of Health and Human Services says Benjamin was advocating for food that was lower in salt and recommending that nutritional information appear on packaging."

    Hello? She working to promote nutritional value in fast foods and requiring food value labels to be available; this is a good thing. Jack your love for Whoppers may benefit from knowing exactly what nutritional value is in that yummy burger.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  76. Daniel B

    It speaks highly of Burger King that they have put such a highly qualified individual to advise the company on how to make their products healthier.

    Clifton VA

    August 13, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  77. Greta H.

    I believe the Surgeon General is a great candidate. Her experience will bring insight about health care for the uninsured and the working poor. She have been a frontline doctor. I look forward to her service.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  78. ds, San Diego

    Ten thousand dollars? If that's all we have to worry about after Cheney and Paulson, I can start sleeping again now. What happened to looking at people's qulifications?

    August 13, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  79. Stephen Phillips Barker

    Maybe she would be he perfect person for the job, she knows how the fast food industy works and she could teach the American People about what it is they do put in there, id rather have and insider then one who knows nothing at all.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  80. Mary Ann

    If she only received 10K in a year to advise Burker King it shows that her involvement must have been minimal and probably sorely needed since Burkger King food is in dire need of nutritional guidance.

    I love you CNN but get the big picture here.. What is her full Resume and background show indicating her qualifications for the job.??

    Can you get a copy of her resume? Then we could really be in a much better position to make an informed judgement regarding her appointment by Obama.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  81. Brennen


    Let's face it, American's are not going to end their dangerous addiction to fast food, and if Dr. Benjamin was working to change Berger King into a more nutritional option for us to slam down our throats, well, all I can say is I wish I could get paid to sit on a board and try to do the impossible.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  82. Scott Guthrie

    I believe she does have a solution. Simply increase the weight levels for people the same way the president is increasing the deficit... Let's see, the average male should weigh between 250 and 300. That should help the fat food companies.
    Pardon me wile I go for a big mac.

    And on our local campus. the building housing the police will soon had a ..... Dunkin Donuts store...


    August 13, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  83. Cynthia

    What does it say that the Surgeon General nominne sits on the advisory board of Burger King? It says that the doctor lives in the real world in which you have to seek compromise with organizations with which you may not always necessarily agree.

    I would rather she sit on the board and be an advocate for healthier menus than sit on the sidelines, criticize and have no impact whatsoever. Grow up Jack!

    August 13, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  84. Jordan

    While I know that she was hired to assist with the nutritional side of Burger King (Not sure what that really means), I am a strong Obama supporter and just another explanation that he does not need make at this point. I guess now we have to look forward to more angry mobs posted in front of Burger King (Not sure is that’s a good thing or not). You just made me crave a Whopper Jack… Thanks!!!

    August 13, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  85. mymanhenri

    Wow. Maybe she'll be able to introduce ideas for some *Health Care combos* @ these town hall meetings. I'll have a large angioplasty, a small gastric bypass and a sodium chloride drip – all to go pls. And I also have this buy one get one coupon to redeem for the drip.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  86. Politically incorrect.

    It means that he is not living up to his promise of change. His appointment is just another lobbyest appointment who as surgeon general will be able to protect the fastfood special interests.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  87. Walt in California

    Thank goodness fast food restaurants are consulting doctor and nutritionists to help provide healthier choices on their menus. When I was a kid, you got fries. Now I see that kids have the option of apple slices or yogurt. Thanks to the efforts of these consultants, it is actually possible to get reasonably nutritious meals at fast food places. It's not her fault if a family chooses the Whopper, as you seem to enjoy, over the healthier options that are now available.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  88. Leslie Reynolds-Benns

    OMG. I'm absolutely amazed. I feel like Obama's sense of what is appropriate has completely gone off the rails. I don't know how to speak about his pick without making racist comments. She looks like over half the woman at my husband's African-American church. A fast food restaurant client should totally make her inappropriate as a choice for Surgeon General.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  89. Cedric

    sounds like you have a problem with her looking like she is overweight . is she unhealthy or something ?hm how woujld u know you make her coming from bugerking is a bad thing theu are a legtime surviving company and its not the fastfoods fault that people dont watch what they eat come on do we really need what to be told what to eat .

    August 13, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  90. Ezekiel Ojo

    Hello Jack,

    I really don't see the problem here. After all Dr. Benjamin was advocating for food that was lower in salt and recommending that nutritional information appear on packaging right? I believe that was a big step in the right direction especially when we know that we can never ban fast food joints in the US – Like you, we all love our whoppers! ( as long as we do not over do it).

    August 13, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  91. RL

    Mr. Cafferty,
    I have never wrote to you, but I am sick and tired of so many of you "skinny" people looking for a politically correct way of looking down on people who are heavy. So What? Becvause she worked with burger king is the reason why she is fat. For too long the news media (and cnn) has relied on advertising dollars from the likes of Burger King and McDonalds to push their agenda. Now you are saying to us to not enjoy food. Give me a break and stop the madness.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  92. rafael

    Again the media takes things way out of perspective! All it means is that she had a job! Being an advisor to BK doesn't make you a fast food proponent. Does being a historian with an expertise in WWII Germany make you a NAZI...NO! Does being a public defender make you a advocate of crime...NO! Question is simply this....does she have the knowledge to do the job?

    August 13, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  93. Carthan

    I don't know how you got through that story either. Does anyone know what this woman's physical health is like before she is totally judged visually? Do we want a Paris Hilton looking SG? I bet she she could kick the collective butts of all the naysayers. Let me hear someone say something positive, please. What is wrong with trying to have a healthy BK burger? Who eats big macs and bk's? Poor and low income, so why not make it as healthy as possible.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  94. Elle

    It says nothing–for all we know she may have been trying to get them to make their food healthier. As for her weight, I don't recall anyone inspecting C. Edward Koop or Dr. Jocelyn Elders for their Body/mass Index.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  95. Carol

    Maybe he is bucking to get free burgers for life you think? I think he is looking to get booted out of office if you ask me because at first I supported our president and now it looks like he is really not trying to be serious about this medical health business.I take this as a joke being thrown up into our faces.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  96. Stephanie

    i can't beleave Obama would pick some1 that works for buger king when we are trying 2 stop obeisty (sorry if i don't spell it right) from fast food places like, u guessed it buger king!
    I wonder what will happen if she is choosed for the job?


    August 13, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  97. BM

    Jack, all I can say is that I hope this is a wopper and not the truth!

    South Orange,NJ

    August 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  98. Nick C

    I think you missed an important point. I think as an advisor to a fast food on healthier offerings, she is being more proactive than those who blindly crirtize her. Fast food outlets are a permanent feature in our culture. Is it not laudable to encourage them to adopt healthier choices. I think so. I commend her.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  99. Cedric

    I don't think the fact that she was "a paid advisor for Burger King", alone, should be outcome determinative when deciding whether she is "tone deaf." Yes, fast food–including Burger King–is bad for your health. But one should also consider whether during her tenure with Burger King she implented, or at least acted as the impetus for, changes in the fast food giant's menu options which improved their nutitrional value. Unfortunately, however, with all the withheld laughter, your presentation omitted any specifics regarding the nutritional mark she left on, or the implementations she oversaw at, Burger King. This type of information would definitely be gold star worthy.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  100. Anne Indianapolis IN

    Obama's nomination of Dr. Benjamin is on a par with with his nomination of a tax cheat for Sec. of Treasury. How can this woman have any credibility to tell Americans to eat correctly and exercise when she obviously is overweight? This is but another example of his lack of judgment in selecting cabinet members and other officials.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  101. chris

    Obama made a whopper of a mistake

    August 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  102. southerncousin

    Jack, the president is entitled to pick the people he wants to pick for for positions authorized to be filled by him. It sounds as though the Surgeion General nominee has been working with Burger King to provide a more healthful menu. Why in the world would that be considered bad. It also means she has some touch of the real world that are lacking in some of his appointees.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  103. Yvonne

    Jack, C Everett Coop and Joyce Elder and a few other surgeon generals have been over weight as well.

    What's new?

    August 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  104. Mark

    I would hope that you researched that she really supported good menu planning before joking about her size and just how much over weight she is. You may get accused of discriminating against fat people!

    August 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  105. Alex San Francisco

    In this case I do not see a major conflict of interest. Remember dick cheney and haliburton? That is what I call a conflict of interest.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  106. John Winters

    We correctly complain about how unhealthy fast food can be, then condemn the doctors willing to work with the industry to find a solution. I am happy to hear she may have been working to make Burger King healthier, shouldn't you too?

    August 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  107. jimbo

    If this was not ludicrous it might be funny.How do you spell
    "Gong Show"

    August 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  108. SHARON: Anchorage, Alaska

    NOTHING. If you were in the field of fixing cars & took on a side job improving a particular part of the auto industry; would you be criticized? NO. This is not worth discussing. Dr. Benjamin's accomplishments are noteworth.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  109. geushia

    Looking at her weight (unless morbidly obese) should not be an issue. C. Thomas Koop waws not a small man and no one every commented on his weight. For an african-american woman she is average in her appearance and according to the national aveage most american women are a size 14 and up.... As far as the Burger King connection goes at least she is not being supported by a drug company. Did you bother to check with her regading tthis, or did you make assumptions

    August 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  110. Dale Johnson

    It means nothing, being a paid consultant for Burger King does not decrease her qualifications what so ever. She advocated for healthier fast food. What a pointless attempt to disgrace her by linking her to a lowly fast food worker, or as an overweight person. There is much more to obesity than eating unhealthy. I have known many who eat bad salty foods in excessive amounts and they are not overweight, and i have seen overweight people who hardly eat at all. There are many things we don't understand when it comes to the subject of obesity. Having an overweight surgeon general will underscore our nations problems with obesity and perhaps from there we can work to help the problem.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  111. Kevin Sanders

    Not all neighborhoods have a Whole Foods around the corner or even a grocery store with fresh fruits and vegetables. Any menu improvements that can be made at Burger King or other fast food establisments are welcome.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  112. Cameron Xavier McLinden, Brooklyn

    Jack, this is the first time I have completely disagreed with your comments leading to the question. Are you serious? Implying Dr. Benjamin is probably not suited for the job because of her little work with Burger King (only 10k, c'mon) is like implying a teacher is not a good one for trying to turn around a poorly run school, instead of taking the easy job at an elite school. Working with fast food giants to reform their practices shows a practical approach to a healthier America. That makes her uniquely qualified. As a first in my experience, your opinions seemed to be utterly shallow.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  113. Eddie

    Well what does it matter really? Her job was to advise Burger King on how healthy their food was, not to lie for them. Its a moot point. As for her being overweight, that is a moronic reason to be against her. Can a crack addict not tell people not to do crack? Let not let her weight over shadow the good she did after Katrina.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  114. Marilyn Gjerdrum

    Saying one thing and doing the opposite is the constant political theme in American politics. Putting an obese woman in charge of healthy eating policies is only another example.
    Some of us were fool enough to hope things would change under Obama; but, it's business as usual.

    Cynically yours,
    Marilyn Gjerdrum
    Cazadero, CA

    August 13, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  115. Dennis Florida

    Come on Jack,
    I really think her qualifications are what we need to be concerned about. With so many important issues to talk about (Healthcare) do we really need to worry about this. Maybe the position will motivate her to lose weight.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  116. Thomas

    Having a paid advisor from Burger King as a surgeon general is akin to putting Bernie Madoff in charge of your portfolio, letting Michael Vick watch your dogs, or getting your information about health care from Sarah Palin.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  117. Steve

    This is a super easy question Jack. The favorite fast food joint of the president is Burger King. Those burgers are delicious.

    Steve, West Lafayette, IN

    August 13, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  118. Darleen Ricard

    Jack- Haven`t you noticed that most fast food chains are trying to offer more healthy food ?? Most likely that was this lady`s job-to find nutricious offerings that would be appealing to the general public.Your comment on her weight wasn`t necessary. She isn`t morbidly obese–she`s actually probably average in today`s world.Play nice !!

    August 13, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  119. Susette DeRosia

    Justice Clarence Thomas was on the board of Monsanto, any conflict of interest there?

    At least Burger King was asking for expert assistance. Maybe the content of their beef is of a better quality because of Dr. Benjamin's consultation.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  120. izu

    it is a shame that the top doctor in our country is an adviser for burger king, i hope her goal isnt to make america fatter than it is, it sends a wrong message, the president should not have picked her. what is she going to advise americans?, "have it your way?"

    August 13, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  121. Jeff Dorico, Miami

    Ask anyone who likes a fast food burger to try eating one without any garnish. You will see why I have not had one in over 25 years.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  122. Kurt Kreiger

    At the risk of being labeled a "racist" – sometimes it seems that when you don't agree with the current administration, you get that ugly racist sticker on your forehead – but in watching some of the choices that Mr. Obama has made in some of his nominations – I can't help but be reminded of some of the appointments that were made for Washington D.C. by then Mayor Marion Barry. If I remember, and as depicted in an HBO special....those didn't turn out so well, and a good number of those ended up in prison. Can't more homework be done on those our President wishes to put in such important positions of responsibility?

    August 13, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  123. Scott M. Danville, VA

    You've got to be kidding me – I don't recall any objections to the fact that the last Vice President's old company & their subsidiaries were awarded BILLIONS of $ in no bid contracts for Iraq and yet this is what people have to complain about this administration? GIVE ME A BREAK!
    Scott M.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  124. Frank Caramelli

    An example for comparison? Atfer years with Halliburton, Dick Cheney took the Vice Presidency and advocated war.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  125. joe adams

    i think sombody should look deeper into this matter because it dont add up!!! if her experiance is fast food, were in deep trouble!!

    August 13, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  126. Eric, Las Vegas, NV

    Okay, one more thing. What exactly is wrong with advising a fast food chain (which is, by the way, one of the most PERVASIVE food sources for citizens of the United States) about how to make food healthier? Isn't that the usual role of health advisers? And let's talk about her weight, women, and menopause. Oh wait. I guess that's against the rules too.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  127. Eleanora Feucht, Mt. Laurel, N.J.

    Jack, the reason the whopper tastes so good is because it's loaded with fat. Fat is tasty – not good for you, but tastes good.Just like everything else that is bad for you has some kind of appeal. That is Satan's job -to make evil things attractive. Just think about it – drugs, aichhol, prostitutes, illegal drugs. etc. Isn't that right??

    August 13, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  128. Eric

    Wow really?? Has President Obama run out of people to appoint to high government positions?? It seems this way. Here's the message being sent to every American now, "It's not so bad overweight, the surgeon general (nominee) is so it must be ok." This must be a "do as I say not as I do" type of thing. This is an attempt by President Obama to try to get his grade up (as seen on CNN) by appointing someone with connections to America's second favorite fast food chain. Good Choice!!!
    -Eric, Michigan

    August 13, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  129. Lee Richard

    Typical pick for a President that does not have enough experience for the job.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  130. Kevin Sawyer

    I do not think that being an advisor to Burger King necessarily would exclude a qualified person from being Surgeon General. What is important is what advise she delivered. If she advocated healthier meals, less salt, more vegetables, less meat, avoidance of fried foods, then she should be applauded, not criticized for her involvement. The fast food industry needs to be educated about nutrition since so many Americans unfortunately rely daily on fast food for their meals. If she is making a difference with Burger King, then just imagine the effect she can make as Surgeon General!

    August 13, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  131. Pete

    I don't think it is a problem, apart from that I have proposed to the president to fund his plan by charging premiums by BMI (body mass index) In other words pay by the pound.
    She will be one of the better payers and so will the customers frequently visiting Burger King.

    Money problem solved


    August 13, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  132. Joan

    Who cares Jack? She has a job to do and I am sure she will do it. Another thing to get the President on. When is it going to stop. I love Burger King and I enjoy everything they have. Don't take that away from me. I weigh 120-lbs and I am a grandma. You should tackle the real news for a change.


    August 13, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  133. Rory Murray

    Remember Burger King's slogan, "Have It Your Way"?
    Well, I guess this is Obama's Way. Unfortunately.
    Have A Nice Day!
    -Rory Murray
    San Bernardino, CA

    August 13, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  134. Amy


    This is crazy!! If she is qualified and can do the job correctly what is the point that she worked for Burger King. Would people be againist Dr. Gupta since he works for CNN? I believe he is qualified. We need to remember Burger King does not force us to buy their food we are in control of what we eat!!!!!!!!


    August 13, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  135. Cleveland McBride

    Jack, i'm a little confused about your statements here. wasn't mr. Koop overweight as well? Was there a problem with his job performance? This woman is part of a panel which gives ADVICE, and Burger King decides if they want to take that advice! At $10,000.00 a year, tells me she played a small part in those decisions. Give me a break Jack, better, give her a break!

    August 13, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  136. Astudent

    Her being overweight potentially has nothing to do with the argument of her qualification to serve as surgeon general. There is so much we do not know about the genetics behind weight control. Therefore, to assume her current weight is tied solely bad lifestyle choices is a stretch. In addition, to overlook all of the wonderful things she has done for the community in preference for her external features is misguided. The burger king link while funny only shows that she was willing to go and work for a company that is having a tremendous impact on the health of her constituents in an attempt to change them for the better. C'mon Jack.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  137. B

    It means our president has a whole lot of campaign promises to keep to people who got him elected. I'm thinking he is no better than any other of our elected officials..how depressing and disappointing because I voted for him..disappointed in iowa..

    August 13, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  138. Willie

    As a very strict vegan who is very conscious of what I eat, Burger King is the only fast food joint in Amereica with Veggie Burgers on it's menu.it is the only place I can eat in a hurry when I travel anywhere in America.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  139. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    I remember Surgeon General Koop was no lightweight either. Let's face it, most Americans are not size 8.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  140. Don from Canada

    Hey, Burger King can afford to hire the very best. So why should she not be good enough to advise the rest of us. So she was adviser to a cholesterol an salt peddling corporation. That experience doesn't hurt her knowledge base as she promotes better diet and possibly regulations on fast food giants.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  141. Cheryl

    I'm glad you told us what her job description was when she was working for burger king. Burger King employed her to help them serve healthier food to their clients. Jack, how do you honestly think this will affect her performing her duties in her new office? There aren't any perfect people out there for any position but if the fault does not stand in the way of competent discharge of duties, let it go.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  142. Michael, New Orleans

    I think it is great that Burger King hired a nutritionist to help their menu. And does a few extra pounds exclude someone from being a doctor or nurse? Let's get real and focus on real issues, not this nonsense.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  143. Jon

    well it says one of two things about president obama. one; he is adding controversy to his own health care situtation, and two; that he may be on the opposite side of the citizens. and that is just fuel for those who dont accept his leadership. its just not a good choice.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  144. Ronald Holst San Antonio TX.

    Jack What , All i can say ? this is a whopper of a story .
    San Antonio . TX

    August 13, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  145. Linta

    President.Obama didn't think through his Surgeon Gneral pick. I feel sorry for the Surgeon General, she must be embarrassed because of all the attention. But this is a very bad pick, totally ruins the" healthy lifestyle" we're trying to promote.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  146. Carol

    From Tulsa OK. I think he is going to far. I think it is ok to think of other black americans and try to include them in your life exeperience. But throwing someone in office that has no Idea of health reform and is not exeperienced in the medical field I think is an insult to all those that put him in office. This is just another slap in the face.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  147. Robert

    Jack, since when has perfection become a box one has to check in order to work with/for an imperfect government? So what she served as an advisor to Burger King! So what she's not a skinny centerfold! I think it is great that the President is picking the most qualified people for the most challenging jobs. It sends a great message to our nation's children; letting them know that through education anything is possible despite popularity, notoriety and vanity.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  148. Susan

    I'm less concerned by the surgeon general nominee's weight and affiliation than I am by the fact that she isn't/wasn't conversant enough with good science to save her own close relations from the worst fates due to diabetic complications.

    Such tragic outcomes can always be avoided by reducing dietary carbohydrates to a level the body can handle, it's just that simple. Studies have shown that the diet recommended by the gov't and non profits promotes diabetic complications and that all the medications in the world don't improve outcomes when diabetics are told to eat mostly foods that rapidly convert to sugar in the bloodstream.

    Her own lack of fitness combined with her involvement with BK illustrate just how little she understands about about disease prevention and management.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  149. Brent Scott- Chicago, Illinois

    I only have one thing to say to those who will criticize President Obama's pick, Dr. Benjamin as the next Surgeon General. "Please think before opening your mouth." Remember President Bush and his pick for Director of FEMA, Michael Brown? What happened? HURRICANE KATRINA! Dr. Benjamen has the knowledge and experience to lead this country unlike other past incompetent members of other Administrations. Jack, I rest my case!

    August 13, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  150. Vieux

    I think the President is laying another political trap against the GOP. We'll see how they react to this one.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  151. Ola

    You are a good guy Jack. However, in this case you are off the wall. Do you understand the word empathy? How can you understand something you never live.......How can a non bald headed know the ugliness, discrimination, and self conscientiousness that come with being bald.....Im sure that you can lecture and be a good role model here too.........

    August 13, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  152. James In Idaho

    Jack, it means that, along with the Joker/Socialism posters, we can now expect comparisons to the burger king character from the extreme right.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  153. dorothy

    I think it is great to have a professional health care expert serving on a committee to advise Burger King. How else do you expect changes to occur that will benefit all of you who frequent fast food businesses. I certainly hope narrow minded, unenlightened folk would not view that as a negative. That is where professionals should be serving, in places where changes need to take place.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  154. Laura

    Why are you calling Dr. Benjamin overweight? She looks great to me! Thank goodness we don't all get judged by how we compare to the pencil thin people on TV or in the movies. Jack, maybe you should be more careful about throwing stones.....

    August 13, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  155. Nich Kansas City, MO

    I don't think Dr. Benjamin working at Burger King really says anything. A doctor who works for Burger King on the nutritional board, seems to be trying to lead the company in a more healthy direction. Dr. Benjamin worked hard in LA after Katrina, and has proven herself as a competent medical mind.

    Also bringing up her weight doesn't take away from her legitimacy. We have all seen doctors who tell their patients what is best, even if they don't follow their own advice. This doesn't take away from the fact that the doctor is still right in the assessment that they offer of their patient.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  156. Linda

    Jack, here is another example of our politicans at work, they make rules and we as middle americans are the only ones that have to follow those rules. For some reason, elected officials think they can do anything they want and that we middle americans are the only ones that need to follow their rules. And yet again, they come back with "Trust Us, we will make the rules and leave Middle Americans to pay." Listen to this Washington, we don't trust you anymore, we are beginning to step up to fight for our rights. Just sign this Fed up in Missouri.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:22 pm |

    If Dr Benjamin was paid by Burger King to help them come up with healthier meal plans for their company, that should be viewed as a good thing. Shouldn't it?

    That fact that Dr Benjamin is considered a few pounds overweight should have nothing to do with her job performance and stinks of sexism.

    Let he who is without at least one body image issue, put down his whopper first...

    August 13, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  158. Matt, Atlanta

    I care more about having a leader who will help us learn the facts about health and health care. If she want to tell us about it over a whopper more power to her. I would type more but I am reaching for a whopper right now
    Matt, Atlanta

    August 13, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  159. vgirl1(tampa)

    The question is almost too ridiculous to address.

    Why do we refuse to consider that Dr. Benjamin's time as an advisor to Burger King might have actually inproved the healthiness of their food offerings? Why do we assume that her work here was negative?

    This is much ado about nothing.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  160. Kevin (Atlanta)

    All of us have a responsibility to do push-aways and stop gouging ourselves over food. We must stop the herd feeding mentality. We must stop it...it's not going to come from them.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  161. RoseAnn

    The new surgeon general must lose some weight if she is going
    to tell people how have healthy eating habits. She is definitely not
    a good example and to come from Burger King President OBAMA's
    choice was not well thought out.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  162. Ren N. (Bahamas)

    Jack, I like you but your losing your mind!!!! She was on a panel that was telling BK why and how to improve their menu, not patting them on their backs and telling them how wonderful they were!!!!!!

    August 13, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  163. Valerie Nelson

    Jack, Give the woman a break, she has to earn a living just like everyone else. As you know but perhaps fail to recognize, most of us are under paid, even the educated ones, or better yet can't find a job. Not all of us are as fortunate as you are to earn big bucks working for CNN. I am not overweight, and I do eat at Burger King, I usually get a salad with grilled chicken and a sugarfree drink. What's wrong with that. Maybe you should eat there sometimes to help a small business person hold on to their franchise. Furthermore being overweight is not a laughing matter, especially because we do not know if the Dr. has some health issues which prevents her form being your slender size. For someone on national TV, you are a bit mean sometimes.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  164. mark pribble anna illinois

    What is says is that you are trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill, she was hired for her knowledge of nutrition.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  165. Robert H Sarasota, Florida

    Jack, it says that running a clinic for the poor and homeless doesn't pay squat. It also says that she was trying to make a difference by advising Burger King to create healthier choices – how can that possibly be a conflict? Additionally, $10,000?!? Seriously?!? That equates to $9.61/hour for 6 months for a standard work week. And the comment regarding her weight is just wrong since it would be discrimination to pass her by based on weight and appearance considering that if 1/3 of adults are obese, you can bet well more than a full 50% are overweight.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  166. Jon Auer

    It says that, maybe, the First Doctor has a real chnce to abdacate for healthy changes in a fast food menu. Maybe she will talk them into less fatty meats, more healthier ingrediants, and no trans fats.

    Lests face it, dinner time at home is joke now of days,. The rush betweem soccer practices, events. organization meetings. Very little Home cooking is done now-a days. In all the running to and fro, kids will opt for the fast food resturant every time.

    Maybe if she does the right thing, using her influence, and given the fact that most kids hardly listen anyway, it could hopefully turn into a fast food place thats ok for them, and at least give a soccer parent a less guilty option when they are on the fly to and from practices and events.

    It could be positive, or we can at leat hope it will.

    Jon in Nashville

    August 13, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  167. Edith Spearman

    If, she were a man would we be having this discussion? No matter what good you do Americans can find something negative, I guess 10 thousands dollars for a doctor who runs a clinic is just too much.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  168. Rick

    Maybe CNN is just upset that Sanjay didn't get the job....

    I too am outraged. Let's ban meat, white bread, sugar, junk carbs, and happy meals.....after we ban cigarettes, alcohol, and sitting for extended periods watching TV..........

    August 13, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  169. Dave Sims

    You have to be kidding, right? You're not really trying to make an issue out of this are you? Are you suggesting that the "Fast Food" industry should not have medical consultants or that overweight people should not be nominated to public office? Now maybe a physician that has a consultant relationship with any industry should be questioned for signing a contract for only
    $10,000.00. Bah!

    August 13, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  170. Kevin Monroe

    You left out a major detail here, a paid advisor for BK's nutritional panel. It's no secret fast food chains have made major changes recently and offer a variety of healthier options.

    Bowie, MD

    August 13, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  171. Manny

    President Obama's choice is a direct conflict of interest. President Obama should have known better than to choose a candidate that does not meet the profile of a Surgeon general, and by her very appearance does not in any way send a send a clear cut message. HOW CAN THIS CANDIDATE LEAD BY EXAMPLE when she is promoting nutrition not beneficial to the health and well being of people. What a mistake.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  172. Allie Lark

    Jack, the doctor has to make a living.I don't think she makes that much money from the poor community she serves.I don't have a problem with it as long as she is giving them scientific information to help BK get it right.

    As far as her weight,I think it might be a plus.She can participate and recommend sensible eating habits and exercise for the many of us who are battling obesity.She could be a fantastic role model for the country.Give this woman a break.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  173. Ellie White

    Well, Jack it says that Pres. Obama has picked a Surgeon General that is/ was working for Burger King. Besides who says she isn't qualified to give nutritional information. Just think of how much more gluttonous, fat infused and deliciously deadly those whoppers would be if she wasn't on the board at Burger King. Maybe she did me and other fast food freaks a favor and cut out some unnecessary crazy artery clogging ingredient off the list.

    Eldine W.
    New York

    August 13, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  174. Mike Nelson

    I personally would pick someone from White Castle. In all seriousness it is a political appointment. She is not being nominated to be a Saint.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  175. AZOR

    wow... what a wise choice. perfect for the job.. what a change. then lets have the following people run following jobs also. Lets choose the soda and candy company CEOs to also run our dental organizations. lets have the tanning boot owners to run our skin cancer foundations.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  176. R. Greteman

    Could the fact that she is African-American have something to do with the President's choice? The woman is not just overweight, but obese, and she is supposed to inspire citizens to exercise, eat right and live a healthy lifestyle.? It is so hilarious, if it was not so sad to lose all confidence in a president that was going to change the way the powers that be run the country. He is just the same old, same old politician.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  177. Cheryl

    As for the weight issue, I'm surprised that the media is dignifying it with coverage. Discriminating against anybody because of their weight, color, disability or pre-existing condition should be illegal for both the media and health insurance companies.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  178. David in San Diego

    Don't be ridiculous. If food/restaurant companies can't have advoacted for healthy eating on their boards and panels, how can we expect them to improve their products? She isn't selling Whoppers, just advising the company on how to make and sell healthier products. As Surgeon General, she will be doing that for free, but before her confirmation, why shouldn't she be paid for her services?

    August 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  179. keith

    OK. So the Surgeon General gave a little help to Burger King to help the be more "healthy". That beats haveing a horse trainer become the director of FEMA.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  180. Gwendolyn J. Smith

    It says to me that President Obama seeks the best qualified individuals wherever they may be found. The fact that Dr. Benjamin is presently a paid advisor to Burger King speaks well of Burger King. If you have not patronized Burger King recently, they offer at least 6 items that are less than 300 calories, which shows that they are trying to provide healthy choices, which may possibly be attributed to the presence of persons like Dr. Benjamin. By the way, the size of an individual does not take away from their capabilities. How many people have physicians who not the picture of health but are capable of taking care of their medical problems?
    G. Smith, Los Angeles, CA

    August 13, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  181. stan eric

    As I thought you stated, she(surgeon general nominee) is on an advisory board. that means , more than one person and they give opinions/recommendations for the relevant topics. Again, as you said she advised them to lower sodium content an other chemicals, additives that have been proven less than positive for a healthy lifestyle. If she were not a woman and of color ,nominated by a president of color, this would not be a topic on a major news network show. She does appear a little overweight, but I would think that would be an asset to her nominated post. I'm sure she is accutely aware of her weight ,and has tried to ameliorate the situation,but has found this much more difficult than imagined, as has over 50% of Americans. I would think this would make her accutely aware of the multitude of problems caused by this state(beingoverweight). And her being on the panel at BK would give her an insiders look at this industry.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  182. Overby from Melbourne

    Having someone that's plain ol' fat being the head of our nations health is absurd and stupid. Obama just keeps on showing bad decisions over and over.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  183. Karen Glenday

    Jack, While it is clear that Dr. Benjamin discontinue her relationship with Burger King, I clearly cannot condemn her because of her weight. or of her consulting with Burger King.
    Even the President enjoys a good burger and greasy fries every now and then! I am biased. Just a little. I live in Mobile County, Alabama where Dr. Benjamin works (and I do mean WORK) at her non-profit clinic. She has contributed hundreds (thousands) of hours of free health care for those that could not pay. She worked tirelessly during and after Hurricane Katrina. I am hoping she will go on a diet and get the Country to go on a diet and inspire us to eat healthier, get more excercise etc. with her. She could use her new position to encourage and inspire those of us that need to lose weight! Michelle Obama's tactic worked for me! I am working on having the best looking arms around!

    August 13, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  184. Victoria Jaffe

    Oh please! As a PR professional, I have come across many corporations, especially food and beverage and pharmaceutical companies that have health-minded advisory boards. The MDs onboard are usually top-notch/well respected in their fields and are chosen for that reason, not because they compromise their professional ethics.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  185. Roy - Chicago

    I would assume ANY physician President Obama would pick would be working for someone Jack! And...if we get a fat foot in the door of the public to try and make fast food healthier, how (gulp, munch) is that bad?? Has she appeared in any commercials with 'The Burger King'?

    August 13, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  186. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    We can't expect Dr. Benjamin to be advising supermodels who don't supersize everything like millions of Americans do when ordering at Burger King.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  187. Agnes from Scottsdale, AZ

    Jack: What it says is that she's an active medical professional whose counsel is sought out. Is the insinuation that she is working on behalf of Burger King to make everyone sick and fat aso they make more money? This is getting nuts! Every industry needs to have at least one physician on the board or as an advisor to make sure they're attempting to do the right thing. Is this a bad thing? We're splitting micro hairs and straying from core issues and values.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  188. Victor, Oklahoma City

    Interesting! Another ridiculous talking point. Trust the GOP to gladly dub her the "Burger Queen" tapped to manage Obama's "death panel" initiative. C'mon let's get serious...she advised Burger King on nutritional values. That to me should be a plus on her impressive resume.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  189. Chris

    Well, it's better to flame broil than to fry!

    August 13, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  190. Annie Naples FL

    oh goodie. A Burger King Czar now. Can I have my whoppers with cheese and bacon?

    August 13, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  191. Wayne

    What could he be thinking? How can she be concerned with the nations health when she is a consultant to a fast food chain? I've already seen too much, he'll never get my vote again. Fool me once........

    August 13, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  192. C.K. of Colorado

    Jack, do you really think fast food restaurants will ever go away? Of course not. You get someone trying to change what they put in their food and getting them to add healthy options to their menu, and we send them straight to the guillotine. It's a double edged sword, and American's are right on track with their criticisms.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  193. Sharon Young

    You should get a gold star for being able to admit that you love and eat Whoppers after criticizing a doctor who is trying to change the unhealthy aspects of fast food. Your weight looks healthy but I wonder now about your arteries.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  194. C. Brenah

    I don't think it matters that Regina Benjamin is overweight. After all, you can be a size 2 and a meth addict, or you can be a size 16 and perfectly healthy. But the fact that she is on Burger King's payroll is an absolute conflict of interest. Wasn't she vetted? I initially felt she was an outstanding choice. But now I don't understand how in a country of 300 million people, she was actually felt to be an ideal candidate. And how is it that no one in the administration caught onto or even cared that the person who tells us all how to live our lives in a way that will create health and longevity, is actuallly a paid representative for a fast food chain that's only real contribution to society is clogged arteries? I just don't get it.

    C. Brenah

    August 13, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  195. cybthia bouchard

    The surgeon gen most likley helped mcdonalds improve their menu. Its all about choice. They at last have some better choices for weight watchers.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  196. Ken in NC

    Jack she was hired as a consultant to promote more healthy eating habits. The President nominated a Judge to the Supreme Court that was a paid Judge for the Federal Government. He nominated an Attorney for the position of the Attorney General that was being paid to be an Attorney in the private sector.

    You get where I’m going with this? He probably wanted you as his Media Director but you didn’t want to take the million dollar pay cut.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  197. Alma Wolff

    Jack, I was very supportive of re-vamping our broken health care system, until I realised key words were missing from most plans...self responsibility! Why am I not surprised that the nominee for Surgeon General is herself obese and a paid consultant to a fast food giant. Somehow this seems like more of an endorsent of "having her cake (burger) and eating it too. How about Dr Ian Smith for Surgeon General.

    Ashburn, VA

    August 13, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  198. Stephanie, washington

    Jack, did you do any research into what changes she made to the Burger King menu? Has she helped add healthy choices to their menu?

    If not, you have no business asking a question upon which you have no background information to base your biased introduction on.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:34 pm |