Is Barack Obama Depressed?

Wouldn't you be? Barack Obama is at the nadir of his political popularity and effectiveness. He has been maneuvered into an economic corner of 9%-plus unemployment by a relentlessly nihilistic Congress. His achievements—killing bin Laden, saving the auto industry at negligible cost—are written off as flukes. Plus all this 9/11 anniversary stuff! We hear the New York Times is looking into whether it's all starting to get to him—like, clinically.

We're told by a source inside the Times that the paper is preparing a story arguing that Obama no longer finds joy in the political back-and-forth, has seemed increasingly listless to associates, and is generally exhibiting the litany of signs that late-night cable commercials will tell you add up to depression. Or maybe Low T.

Either way, the investigation was described to us as taking seriously the notion that Obama may be suffering from a depressive episode. Of course, absent a telltale Wellbutrin prescription or testimony from the man himself, it's really impossible to achieve a reliable diagnosis. And a story like "Obama Appears to Suffer From Depression" can be easily downgraded to "Political Travails Begin to Take Personal Toll on Obama." So the story in question, if it ever comes out, may not end up supporting the depression thesis. But rest assured: There are people at the Times who, based on the paper's reporting, believe Obama is depressed—the kind of depression where, if he weren't the president of the United States, he wouldn't be getting out of bed in the morning.

As per usual, a Times spokeswoman declined to comment: "In keeping with our policy that we don't comment on stories that we may or may not be working on, we will not comment in this case."

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