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Obama says his credit card was declined at Manhattan restaurant

President Barack Obama speaks at the Consumer Financial

President Barack Obama speaks at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on October 17, 2014 in Washington. Credit: Getty Images / Pool

WASHINGTON -- Even President Barack Obama can experience the embarrassment of having his credit card declined at a restaurant.

As he signed an executive order Friday at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to improve credit card security, he told the story of how he couldn't pay for dinner at a Manhattan restaurant last month.

"I should mention, by the way, that I went to a restaurant up in New York when I was there during the General Assembly, and my credit card was rejected," Obama said to laughter in a room packed with the bureau's employees.

"It turned out I guess I don't use it enough. So they thought there was some fraud going on," he said.

"Fortunately, Michelle had hers."

He was chagrined at the time.

"I was trying to explain to the waitress, 'No, I really think that I've been paying my bills,' " Obama said to more laughter. Alluding to efforts to fight credit card fraud, he added, "Even I'm affected by this."

He didn't identify the restaurant. But news reports say Obama and the first lady ate burrata with salsa verde and charred bread, and an endive salad with walnuts and anchovies at Estela in the Nolita neighborhood on Sept. 24, the second day of the UN session.

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