Jake Tapper, “senior national correspondent” of ABC is mad. Turns out his nose for news may have caught Obama after a puff. Did the campaign put up a smokescreen to throw Tapper off the trail?

Last August, I ran into Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, outside the Senate chamber in the Capitol.

This was before the Obama surge, before he had omnipresent Secret Service agents, back when you might see him strolling solo.

We chatted for a second, mainly about the Pakistan speech he’d recently given and about how the media had covered it. He was in good spirits.

As any close friend or family member can attest, I have an unusually keen sense of smell and immediately I smelled cigarette smoke on Obama. Frankly, he reeked of cigarettes.

Obama ran off before I could ask him if he’d just snuck a smoke, so I called his campaign.

They denied it. He’d quit months before, in February, they insisted. He chewed nicorette.

But I knew what I’d smelled and I asked his campaign to double-check and to ask him if he’d had a cigarette.

They reported back that he had told them he hadn’t had a cigarette since he quit.

And maybe that was true. Maybe I imagined the cigarette smoke. My olfactory nerve somehow misfired.

Do we still wonder how the media could have fallen down on its job in the run-up to the war?

Tapper goes on to say he heard Obama tell MSNBC’s Chris Matthews the other night that he’s sneaked smokes despite attempts to quit.

It’s not a big deal in the scheme of things — the war on Iraq, a major economic crisis — indeed, it’s miniscule. Hardly worth mentioning.

Except that I don’t like feeling that I wasn’t being dealt with honestly.

I have a favorite t-shirt and it says simply, “Smoking is Healthier than Fascism.” I don’t smoke anymore, but this is one day I wish I did!