Turns out the most powerful man in the world is no match for a MasterCard, apparently. President Obama found himself without a working credit card last month, according to a new report, and Michelle had to step in to cover a bill.
It’s not as bad as it sounds. The President was out at a restaurant in New York last month while visiting the United Nations. As USA Today reports, Obama’s card was rejected for reasons largely beyond his control.
“I went to a restaurant when I was up in New York during the General Assembly, and my credit card was rejected,” Obama said to laughter from the assembled press on Friday at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
“It turned out I guess I don’t use it enough – so they thought there was some fraud going on,” Obama explained.
First Lady Michelle Obama, though, was there to step in with a card that actually worked.
“Fortunately, Michelle had hers,” Obama continued.
Obama’s anecdote came as he signed an executive order on identity theft, which requires that chip-and-pin technology be implemented on federal government credit and debit cards going forward. The order also gives aid for victims of identity theft, and it works to encourage businesses to adopt better practices in order to prevent identity theft.
The Obamas are no strangers to the perils of having their information posted online. Michelle Obama was once the victim of a hacker attack that saw her personal financial information posted online. The First Lady’s credit report, social security number, phone numbers, banking and mortgage information, and credit card details were all posted to a Russian website alongside similar information for Beyonce, Britney Spears, Donald Trump, and others.
“Blame your husband,” the website said on the page devoted to the First Lady, “we still love you, Michelle.”
Apparently, nothing untoward happened with Obama’s finances beyond the posting of the information, but the breach did shine a spotlight on the importance of maintaining one’s financial security in the digital era. As for the President’s declined credit card, he wasn’t able to explain it away at the restaurant, and he stressed that the executive order would help more than just average consumers.
“I was trying to explain to the waitress,” Obama said, “‘No really, I think that I’ve, uh, been paying my bills.’ So even I’m affected by this.”