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The Nuclear Bible: Sports Hero Barry Soetoro Intro: In order to effectively respond to a nuclear terror attack on the Super Bowl, U.S. President Barrack Obama aka Barry Soetoro (given name) must act the part of a diehard sports fan. To Obama‘s credit, he has been very busy in this regard. With unprecedented visits to the White House, and countless TV appearances on sports related programs, Obama is the greatest sports fan to ever grace the Oval Office. Date: October 12, 2005 Source: ESPN Title/Headline: Presidential First Pitches : Barrack Obama Abstract: Barack Obama was a senator Oct. 12, 2005, when he threw out the first pitch before Game 2 of the ALCS between the White Sox and the Angels at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago (ESPN, 2010). Date: August 31, 2007 Source: USA Today, Michael McCarthy Title/Headline: NFL To Revamp Shield With Redesigned Logo Abstract: The National Football League is launching a makeover of its red, white and blue "NFL Shield" logo that adorns everything from player jerseys to fan T-shirts and hats. The league is creating a leaner, meaner version of the iconic logo that will debut at the NFL draft in April, 2008. The revamped shield will be slightly taller and thinner, with a new football, fewer stars and darker colors, says Lisa Baird, the NFL's senior vice president of marketing. The redesign marks the first changes to the shield since 1980. At the NFL's annual meeting this spring, commissioner Roger Goodell talked about the NFL Shield as the "envy of the sports world." The league has been careful to make an "evolutionary, not a radical change," says Baird. The new shield features eight stars (representing the eight AFC and NFC divisions) vs. 25 on the current logo. Why 25? It's a mystery. After researching the shield's origins, the designers could find no reason for 25 stars, says Jaime Weston, director of brand and creative operations. The shield logo was first used around 1940, two decades after the NFL's founding in 1920. The football at the center has been redesigned to resemble the ball atop the Vince Lombardi championship trophy, says Baird. It replaces the old-fashioned pigskin nicknamed the "Hamburger" inside league offices. NFL vendors will probably thank the league for switching to fewer stars. Some vendors, without permission, have used fewer stars rather than shoehorning 25 tiny stars into smaller shields on hats and T-shirts. Tinkering with one of the country's most powerful and ubiquitous sports brands will be a risky and expensive business. NFL sponsors such as Reebok, Riddell, Wilson and EA Sports will have to switch shields on everything from uniforms (players wear three logos at the neck and waistlines and on the helmet) and licensed merchandise to the official "Duke" game ball and Madden video game. Even groundskeepers will have to adopt the new shield at NFL stadiums. But Baird believes the cleaner, more modern symbol will "pop" better during TV telecasts. The less-busy logo will also show up better on "third screens" increasingly used by sports fans: cellphones, laptops, iPods and PDAs. During testing with focus groups, consumers liked the switch to eight stars for eight divisions, she says. "People felt that made more sense than tying in to 32 teams," says Baird (McCarthy, 2007). Although the NFL says that the 4 and 4 star logo is representative of the four divisions within the NFC and AFC Conferences, the NFL is seriously looking into franchises in Europe, so that particular concept will only be valid for a couple of years. More than likely, the 4 and 4 is representative of the 44 th President of the United States: Barrack Hussein Obama. Date: February 21, 2008 Source: The Statesman Title/Headline: Obama Hooks „Em In Visit With Longhorns Abstract: So, Obama, can the Longhorns win another national championship? ―Yes, they can.‖ Hours before he returns to the UT campus for tonight‘s debate with Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Barack Obama paid a courtesy call to Mack Brown and his Longhorns. It might seem like an odd pairing, given Brown‘s repeated claims to be agnostic when it comes to politics. Brown has said that he doesn‘t even vote (in anything other than the coaches poll), lest he be seen as straying too close to the political fire. Then again, his wife has donated to Obama’s campaign, giving $500 last March long before Obama’s bandwagon had filled with supporters. Perhaps Mack was lobbying Obama about that border fence idea we mentioned in today’s paper — a border fence to keep the Oklahoma recruiters out. Here are the photos from Obama‘s visit to the land of the burnt orange and the home of the brave. Given the senator‘s eagerness to flash the hook ‗em sign, his campaign just might find itself doing a little damage control among the Aggie vote. Oh, who are we kidding. The Aggies are all Republicans, aren’t they governor? (The Statesman, 2008). Date: April 29, 2008 Source: MSNBC, Associated Press Title/Headline: Obama Hoops It Up With North Carolina Players Abstract: For all his basketball skills, Barack Obama was out of his league. The Democratic presidential candidate played hoops with the University of North Carolina team on Tuesday, a Final Four squad that cut the 46-year-old some slack. ―These guys move very fast,‖ puffed Obama, as he raced up and down the court with the much younger and much bigger college players, many of whom dwarfed the 6-foot-2 Obama. The Illinois senator is a workout enthusiast, and basketball is his chosen game. He decided to open his day with the Tar Heels, including star Tyler Hansbrough, a 6-foot-9 All-American who spent part of his morning guarding Obama. At one point, Obama slipped past Hansbrough for a layup, which rimmed out. Ever the realist, Obama recognized what had happened. ―Hansbrough went easy on me,‖ Obama said. ―I thought I had it.‖ Obama often plays pickup basketball games with local backers. He toured the Tar Heel sports complex with Coach Roy Williams, and conceded he had moved up a notch. ―Let me tell you, these guys are big and fast,‖ said Obama, catching his breath on the sidelines. In his March NCAA tournament picks, Obama selected North Carolina, but the Tar Heels lost to eventual champion Kansas in the semifinals. Though the players, who were relishing banging on each other, gave Obama his shots, he was unable to score. At one point he dished off a nifty, behind the back pass that nearly set up an assist. Neither side kept score (MSNBC, 2008). Date: May 9, 2008 Source: Oregon Live, Rachel Bachman Title/Headline: Obama Speaks To 8,000 At University Of Oregon Abstract: After introductions by Oregon men's basketball coach Ernie Kent -- along with U.S. Reps. Wu and DeFazio -- Barack Obama entered to thunderous applause from a crowd estimated by fire officials at about 8,000. Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising" boomed over a sound system. Obama walked out of the The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and onto the Memorial Quadrangle at dusk, around 8:10 p.m. It was a dramatic scene, Obama against a backdrop of the museum's ornate brick exterior and a riser full of supporters, facing a riser of television cameras and a long, grassy mall of standing supporters. As Obama began, he noted that he had been introduced by the men's basketball coaches at Oregon and Oregon State at different speaking engagements. "That's a sign of being able to bring anybody together in this country." Obama went on to speak of the failed policies of President George Bush and the war in Iraq. When Obama noted the high price of gas, he said, "You're riding your bike, aren't you?" -- to a big cheer, of course (Bachman, 2008). Date: May 16, 2008 Source: Media General, Sean Mussenden Title/Headline: Top Obama Aide Goes From Duke Basketball Court To DC Abstract: On the campaign trail, there are hundreds of young staffers who have been working their entire lives to get a job in the White House. And then there's Reggie Love. At 26, Love, a former Duke University basketball and football star isn't exactly sure how he ended up as one of Barack Obama's most indispensable aides on the trail this year. As Obama's "body man," he has spent almost every hour of every day with the presumptive Democratic nominee for the last 15 months. He makes sure Obama gets up on time in the morning, gets in the shower and has breakfast. He makes sure he has his daily briefing books and list of fundraisers or super delegates to call that day. He makes sure he gets to bed at night. In between, he does a thousand other tasks that busy presidential candidates like Obama cannot do for themselves. Love isn't quite sure how he ended up here. That's remarkable in an arena populated by young, careerist politicos, the former class president-types who have been angling for positions like his since high school. Love, a Charlotte native, majored in political science at Duke University. But until he fell backwards into a job in Obama's senate office in Washington in early 2006, he didn't expect to actually work in politics. "Before I started working for Barack, I was very cynical about politics," he said in an interview earlier this month. He hoped to become a professional athlete. And while many people harbor such dreams unrealistically, Love almost made it - and still might, at least overseas. He was never the best player on Duke's basketball team during his run from 2000 to 2005. Playing forward and center, though, he was a key role player during a stretch where Duke won a national championship and several Atlantic Coast Conference championships. On Duke's sub-par football team, Love stood out. As a 6-foot four-inch, 225 pound wide receiver, he was good enough to try out for two NFL squads, the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers, though he missed the cut for both. In 2006, he was considering entering a training program for a Wall Street investment bank, when a friend alerted him to an opening in Obama's senate office in Washington. He got the job, and when Obama decided to run for president, Love moved on with him. Mentally, he says, the last 15 months on the campaign trail have been like playing four straight seasons of college sports. Physically, he's feeling better than he did during the bruising NFL training camps. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Obama pointed out that one of the body man's most important roles is making sure the candidate isn't overwhelmed by demands to call fundraisers, or meet local supporters or read a draft of a speech. Love's temperament is suited for the job, he said. "People ...want me here or want me there, or are making requests, or are wanting some phone call out of me. Having somebody who is a good people person is really important," he said of Love. At a campaign rally in Charlotte, Love's hometown, the weekend before the North Carolina primary, Obama coaxed a reluctant Love onto the stage, calling him "one of the staffers I love the most." "He is there, day in, day out, never complains, has always got a cheerful attitude," Obama told the crowd. "He is ...going places." Basketball rivalries within North Carolina are fierce, and hatred of Duke is intense in many pockets. Love said he didn't meet a single person who said they would not vote for Obama because of his decision to bring a Blue Devil on staff. "Even though the Duke-Carolina rivalry is fierce, there's some civility to it. Much more so than with the (University of) Maryland fans," he said. The body man position has been around for years, but only gained notoriety with the television show "The West Wing" that made a lead character of the president's body man, Charlie Young. The job is both exhausting and frequently repetitive, and includes lots of menial jobs. At a soul food restaurant in Greensboro on the eve of the North Carolina primary, Love held Obama's box of hot wings while the candidate worked the crowd. The pressure is intense. He and other staffers are surrounded by hundreds of members of the media, so the potential of accidentally saying something to damage the campaign is real. Even seemingly trivial things get reported. For example, earlier this month, Obama, Love and other staffers went to the back of the campaign plane to challenge members of the press to a game of Taboo, a word association game. Players offer clues to teammates to get them to guess words. One of the clues Love came up with, "where gay people buy clothes" was reported by dozens of news outlets. Obama guessed Abercrombie & Fitch. The answer was the Gap. Despite the drawbacks, the benefits of the job are many. The body man, in both the White House and on the campaign trail, gets to see history being made up close. And there are fun parts. Love, Obama and other staffers play basketball on the road when time allows. And it opens doors. Blake Gottesman, President George W. Bush's body man for most of his tenure, left the White House in 2006 and was granted admission to Harvard's graduate business school despite his never having received an undergraduate degree. It helped Doug Band, who did the job for President Clinton, run in circles that led to his dating supermodel Naomi Campbell, according to the Washington Post. Before the campaign started, Love had considered moving overseas to join a professional basketball league after it ended. Now, he's worried that he might be too old. He acknowledges that if Obama wins, working in the White House would be a nice perk. Even if he never expected to end up there (Mussenden, 2008). Date: October 3, 2008 Source: Word Press, Kamryn Love Title/Headline: Obama Receives Michigan State University Honorary Jersey Abstract: ―Standing before an estimated 20,000-person crowd that would have overfilled Breslin Center by 3,720 people, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama received a Spartans basketball jersey with his name and the number ―08‖ on the back Thursday afternoon. He modeled it for the audience that blanketed Adams Field off West Circle Drive to a thunderous applause, just before he delved into issues such as the economy, energy and education. ―Everybody has to vote. You have no excuses,‖ Obama told the crowd, including some members who had arrived as early as 9 a.m. for the 2:30 p.m. speech. ―But you have to go get cousin Pookie, you know, Ray-Ray, who‘s sitting on the couch loafing around. You have to get them registered and get them out to vote as well.‖ Obama might as well have been in Breslin Center, as he led a raucous ―Go Green, Go White‖ chant and paid homage to Earvin ―Magic‖ Johnson, who led MSU to the national basketball championship during Obama’s senior year of high school in 1979‖ (Love, 2008). Date: November 5, 2008 Source: ESPN, Lester Munson Title/Headline: Change Is Coming To Sports, Too, Under Obama Abstract: It will take some time, maybe 1,000 days, to measure the full impact that President-elect Barack Obama will have on the world of sports, but we can already circle a couple of upcoming dates and make some educated guesses about his role in the games we play and watch. On the afternoon of the 76th day of his presidency (Monday, April 6), Obama will be back on Chicago's South Side to join fellow White Sox fans at U.S. Cellular Field for Opening Day against the Kansas City Royals. And on the 255th day of his presidency (Friday, Oct. 2), he will be in Copenhagen, Denmark, telling the members of the International Olympic Committee why the 2016 Summer Olympics must be in Chicago. Obama's allegiance to the Sox (he does not hesitate to express his scorn for fans of the Chicago Cubs) and his support for an Olympics in Chicago are absolute. In an interview with ESPN's Stuart Scott that aired on "SportsCenter" in August, Obama was asked who he would root for in a Cubs-White Sox World Series. This was his answer: "Oh, that's easy. White Sox. I'm not one of these fair-weather fans. You go to Wrigley Field, you have a beer; beautiful people up there. People aren't watching the game. It's not serious. White Sox, that's baseball. South Side." On other issues facing the sports industry, Obama views are a bit less certain. However, a review of his campaign statements and position papers as well as ESPN.com interviews with his friends and former colleagues at the University of Chicago indicate that an Obama administration is likely to: Produce major tax increases for team owners and players; Slow sales of professional teams; Increase the powers of player unions; More vigorously enforce the requirements of Title IX; And begin to resolve the serious clashes between sports cable networks such as the NFL Network and the Big Ten Network and cable providers such as Comcast. Obama's views on other critical sports issues, including performance-enhancing drugs and stricter controls on the powers and the finances of the NCAA, are unknown. Experts agree that Obama's support for Chicago's 2016 Olympics bid will be critical and that his presence in Copenhagen could easily win the Olympics for Chicago. Former British prime minister Tony Blair's charismatic presentations were said to have led the IOC to pass over Paris, which seemed to have the leading bid after New York City's attempt to get the Games collapsed, and give the 2012 Olympics to London. Chicago's competition for the 2016 Games includes Madrid, Spain; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Tokyo. Obama, who appeared at a downtown Chicago rally in support of the bid in June shortly after he won the Democratic nomination, could have an even greater impact on the IOC than Blair did, according to Olympics experts. "He will be the rock star of the Copenhagen meeting," observes Allen Sanderson, a professor of sports economics at the University of Chicago. "We saw the crowd he drew in Berlin, and he will remain in the glow of an historic election triumph when he asks for IOC votes." In late July, some 200,000 people attended an Obama speech in front of Berlin's Victory Column, designed in part to demonstrate his desire to improve America's image in Europe and the rest of the world. Japanese Olympic officials already have expressed their concern that Obama could turn the tide in favor of Chicago when the IOC votes in October. "Mr. Obama is popular and good at speeches, so things could get tough for Japan," said Tomiaki Fukuda, a senior Japanese Olympic Committee board member. If Sen. John McCain had won the election, the U.S. bid to play host to the 2016 Olympics might have been negatively affected. Many IOC members remember McCain's scathing investigation of the bribery scandal involving IOC members who helped award the 2002 Winter Olympics to Salt Lake City. Two members of the Salt Lake City bid committee were indicted, and McCain's investigation led to major changes in the IOC and the U.S. Olympic Committee. Many IOC members remain bitter over McCain's aggressive efforts for reform. An Olympics in his home city of Chicago in the late summer of 2016 would be a grand finale for an Obama presidency that would be about to wind down if he were re-elected to a second term. Of more importance than the 2016 Olympics, of course, is the state of the economy, and Obama's attempts to restore it to health could have far-reaching effects on sports. "The sports industry needs and wants the economy back," says Marc Ganis, a consultant in sports finance who has worked for numerous professional teams and leagues and most recently quarterbacked the deal that produced the new Yankee Stadium. "Fans must be able to buy tickets and cable television packages. Businesses must be able to buy sponsorships and skyboxes. The industry may be recession-resistant, but it is not recession-proof. We need a return to health." Part of the Obama prescription for the economy could hurt both owners and players. Throughout his campaign, Obama promised that he would increase taxes on individuals who earn more than $250,000 per year. That would take money out of the pockets of wealthy team owners and well-paid players. The Major League Baseball minimum salary, for example, will be $400,000 next year. "It will be an increase that they will notice," Sanderson observes. Already, a number of baseball agents are saying they might attempt to have their free agents signed, sealed and delivered to new teams by Jan. 1. Among Obama's economic proposals is an increase of the top federal income tax rate from 35 percent to 39.6 percent, but signing bonuses paid before the start of the new year likely wouldn't be subject to the new rate. Too, Obama's campaign promises about capital gains and inheritance taxes, if and when implemented, will complicate the sale and transfer of team ownerships. Wayne Huizenga, the owner of the Miami Dolphins, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel recently that he will attempt to complete the sale of his team to Steve Ross, a New York real estate mogul, before the end of 2008 to avoid Obama's promised increase in the capital gains tax. Obama's economic plan calls for an increase in that tax from 15 percent of the investment gain to 20 percent, a hike of one-third. An Obama-promised increase in estate taxes could also provide problems for team owners. If the tax is increased, the death of a principal owner could lead to serious problems for a family trying to keep control of the team. The NFL's St. Louis Rams, according to some reports, are for sale as the result of the impact of inheritance taxes at current rates. In addition to his changes in the tax structure, Obama may seek changes in the laws that govern unions. After enjoying strong support from organized labor during his campaign, Obama can be expected to increase the leverage of player unions through appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, the forum that regulates collective bargaining between players and owners. He may also introduce legislation that would ban replacement workers, a reform that has long been a goal of the labor movement. Under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the NLRB was slow to consider and even slower to decide cases that involved allegations of unfair bargaining practices on the part of team owners. Union representatives, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the issues, told ESPN.com that they look forward to a more aggressive NLRB that will be quick to decide player complaints against team owners. As early as last summer, the late Gene Upshaw, the leader of the NFL Players Association who died in August, said he was looking forward to a President Obama introducing legislation that would ban replacement workers. Known to labor activists as "scabs," replacement workers are hired to replace striking workers, a device that destroyed an Upshaw-led strike in 1989. Upshaw was anticipating a radically different situation when the NFL's current collective bargaining agreement expires in 2011. In addition to the changes he will enact on the professional level, Obama's approach to governing can be expected to have some indirect impacts in college sports. Coaches, athletes and administrators in a number of so-called minor sports, such as wrestling, have long been wary that their sports will be eliminated to meet the equality of gender requirements of Title IX, and they cannot be happy about Obama's election. With President Bush in the White House and Dennis Hastert, a former wrestling coach, serving as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, participants in those sports had some hope that Title IX requirements might be diluted. Bush and his staff looked hard at Title IX and the possibility of enacting changes in the regulations of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that govern Title IX, but they backed away as opposition to any changes grew. Obama, the father of two daughters, might not be sympathetic to those hoping to lessen the impact of Title IX. In an issue that affects both college and professional sports, both sides of an acrimonious dispute between sports cable networks and cable providers will be watching closely as Obama appoints a new chair of the Federal Communications Commission. Professor James Speta, a telecommunications expert at the Northwestern University Law School, explains that Obama has already committed himself to the idea of "network neutrality" for Internet providers, an idea that guarantees consumers can decide what Internet sites they want and prevents providers from blocking consumers from certain sites. "If you take his position on the Internet one step further, you can see that Obama will support the idea that a cable TV customer should be able to choose any network he wishes to watch," Speta says. If Speta's assertion proves to be correct, it will be good news for the NFL Network, the Big 10 Network and other content providers who want cable companies to offer their networks to customers. On other issues, even after a campaign that went on for 22 months, little is known of Obama's positions. Although both the Bush administration and Sen. McCain were aggressive in their approaches to the elimination of performance-enhancing drugs, Obama has not spoken on the issue. Will he agree with Bush and McCain, that steroids and other drugs must be eliminated? Or will he be sympathetic to the position of Donald Fehr and the Major League Players Association, that regulation and testing should be a private matter between players and owners? If federal authorities do not conclude their perjury investigation of Roger Clemens before Bush leaves office, Obama and his attorney general will face a decision on Clemens that will be a signal of their approach on these drugs. Obama's position on the NCAA and its tax exemptions also is unknown. With the NCAA earning billions from football and basketball while competing with the NFL and the NBA for entertainment dollars, many in Congress want an investigation of its tax-exempt status. Obama has not spoken on the issue. In 76 days, Obama will take the oath of office as the 44th president of the United States. In the 1,000 days that follow, he will help support the White Sox, and he will help his city try to win an Olympics bid and perhaps stage the Games. Decision by decision, day by day, his impact on the world of sports will emerge. His promises of hope and change may lead to solutions to problems that have vexed commissioners, owners, coaches and athletes for years. It will be an interesting ride (Munson, 2008). Date: November 21, 2008 Source: The New York Times, Jeff Zeleny Title/Headline: Obama Makes A Pitch For Chicago‟s Olympic Bid Abstract: President-elect Barack Obama donned his salesman‘s hat on Friday and made his first formal pitch to promote Chicago‘s bid for the 2016 summer Olympics. ―In the coming years, my administration will bring a fresh perspective on America’s role and responsibilities around the world,‖ Mr. Obama said. ―But if we are to truly meet our shared challenges, we must all work together. By uniting the world in a peaceful celebration of human achievement, the Olympic Games reminds us that this is possible.‖ Mr. Obama delivered his remarks through a 90-second videotaped address that was played to the general assembly of the European Olympic Committee during a meeting in Istanbul. Chicago is engaged in a four-city competition for the games, with Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Madrid also vying to be selected. The long-distance appearance by Mr. Obama – his first foray into Olympic politics – underscored the degree to which he is willing to go to get involved on Chicago’s behalf in its quest to win the games. For the United States, he said, the Olympics would be a moment ―to reach out, welcome the world to our shores and strengthen our friendships across the globe.‖ ―I deeply believe in the Olympic movement and have long supported hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in my home city of Chicago,‖ Mr. Obama said. ―Over the past two years, I have spoken often about my belief that while we may come from different places and backgrounds, there are certain shared values that unite us, values at the heart of the Olympic movement: friendship, excellence and mutual respect.‖ Mayor Richard M. Daley Jr. of Chicago, who was attending the meeting in Istanbul, introduced the video of Mr. Obama. The image showed the president-elect in a formal backdrop, sitting at a table with an American flag at his side. Chicago will make its final presentation to the International Olympic Committee on Oct. 2, 2009, a trip that Mr. Obama is expected to make during his first year in the White House. But should Chicago win the Olympics, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee that President Obama will be around to welcome the games to Chicago. He, of course, has to win re-election in four years. But if he does, the 2016 games would come in the final summer of his second term in office, a fitting bookend to the worldwide attention his candidacy has drawn to Chicago (Zeleny, 2008). Date: January 9, 2009 Source: Reuters Title/Headline: Obama Backs College Football Playoffs Abstract: He doesn’t have a vote in the process, but President-elect Barack Obama says college football needs a playoff system. Florida defeated Oklahoma 24-14 on Thursday night to win the national college football championship. The Gators‘ victory has not stopped the annual debate — mostly among sports writers and other fans of the game — over whether the top four or eight teams should play each other to determine a national winner. Obama, in a light moment at the end of a news conference, congratulated Florida for its victory but said other top teams such as Utah, the University of Southern California or Texas might have a case to make for being No. 1. ―If I’m Utah, if I’m USC, or if I’m Texas, I may still have some quibbles. And you’ve heard my pitch. That’s why we need a playoff,‖ he said. College presidents have argued against a playoff system by saying it would take the student-athletes away from their studies for an extended period (Reuters, 2009). Date: January 30, 2009 Source: U.S. News & World Report, Kenneth T. Walsh Title/Headline: Obama's Big Endorsement: Steelers Over Cardinals In Super Bowl Abstract: Presidents are usually careful not to take sides in big sporting events, like Sunday's Super Bowl. They don't want to alienate the fans of either team, so they generally praise both sides and leave it at that. Not Barack Obama. He threw caution and even- handedness out the window yesterday and endorsed the Pittsburgh Steelers in their Super Bowl matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. "Other than the [Chicago] Bears, the Steelers are probably the team that's closest to my heart," Obama told reporters in the Oval Office. The president is a longtime resident of Chicago and former senator from Illinois. Obama waded deeper into dangerous waters when he pointed out that Steelers president Art Rooney II and coach Mike Tomlin had both supported him in the presidential campaign. Obama did have some praise for the underdog Cardinals, however. "[Quarterback] Kurt Warner is a great story and he's closer to my age than anybody else on the field, but I am a long-time Steelers fan. You know, I wish the best to the Cardinals. They've been long- suffering. It's a great Cinderella story, but..." Obama plans to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday with a group of invited friends, members of Congress from both parties, and other guests at the White House. During the pregame show, he has scheduled a live interview with NBC's Matt Lauer. Vice President Joe Biden, who was born in Scranton, Pa., also backs the Steelers. He told CNBC, "I know you're supposed to be one of these guys that says I'm not sure. But I want to make clear, I'm rooting for the Steelers. Go, Mr. Rooney!" (Walsh, 2009). Date: January 31, 2009 Source: Fox News, Associated Press Title/Headline: Obama To Host Democrats, Republicans At White House Super Bowl Party Abstract: It's an invitation few would turn down: Watching the Super Bowl at the White House with President Barack Obama playing host. Obama is inviting a group of lawmakers to join him for tomorrow's NFL championship game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals. With no Chicago team for Obama to cheer, the president says he's rooting for Pittsburgh, but that he also wishes Arizona the best. Five of the 15 lawmakers invited to join Obama are from Pennsylvania, and two are from Arizona. There are four senators and 11 representatives. The group includes 11 Democrats and four Republicans. The White House says the gathering is another step in the president's continuing effort to get to know lawmakers better in hopes of reducing the partisan rancor as they work together on the people's business. (The invited lawmakers are: Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa.; Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; and Arlen Specter, R-Pa.; and Reps. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.; Artur Davis, D-Ala.; Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.; Charlie Dent, R-Pa.; Mike Doyle, D-Pa.; Trent Franks, R-Ariz.; Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz.; Paul Hodes, D-N.H.; Patrick Murphy, D-Pa.; Fred Upton, R-Mich.; and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C.) (Fox News, 2009). Date: February 14, 2009 Source: The Huffington Post Title/Headline: Obama NBA All-Star Game Halftime Message About Community Service Abstract: It's another call for public service from President Barack Obama. He says all Americans should help out in their communities. That could mean reading to children or repairing basketball courts. The basketball-playing president taped a message for Sunday night's NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix. The White House released excerpts ahead of the broadcast. Obama's taped message will air at halftime. The president is encouraging people to visit a Web site http://www.USAService.org to find jobs that need done near their homes. He says everything from putting together care packages for troops and fixing up basketball courts can help. (The Huffington Post, 2009). Date: February 26, 2009 Source: NBA, Adam Fluck Title/Headline: Bulls Visit President Obama At White House Abstract: President Barack Obama’s day began with a discussion on the fiscal year budget of 2010. And no, his remarks did not touch on the impending free agency of LeBron James or Dwyane Wade. His daily briefing with senior advisors in the Oval Office followed, as did a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus in the State Dining Room, and eventually, a get together with Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton. Before the afternoon ended, though, President Obama found time to say hello to some special guests from his hometown, as the Chicago Bulls team visited with him in the Blue Room of the White House on Thursday afternoon. ―It was crazy just being here,‖ Bulls guard Derrick Rose said just before leaving the grounds. ―I’ve never had the chance to be at the White House, but the President gave us the opportunity to come so that’s what we did. I was nervous just to stand next to him, but then for someone like him to even know my name was just amazing.‖ Rose said that the visit, which included a tour of the White House, was one he‘ll always remember. Along with his teammates, he was able to personally meet President Obama, have a brief discussion with him, and pose for photos. ―He knew just about everyone on our team and you could tell he’s a real Bulls fan,‖ Rose said. The 20-year old rookie said he’s taken on a new interest in politics since Obama’s historic campaign and election. ―I’m definitely reading the papers and online more often, and my Mom calls me a lot to talk about politics,‖ Rose explained. ―She’s trying to make me more aware and involved, knowing that it will be good for me to really know what’s going on in the world.‖ Already a role model himself, Rose said that the example President Obama—a fellow Chicagoan—sets is one that he constantly tries to follow. ―He gives you hope,‖ Rose said. ―Just like no one thought he would become President, no one thought that I could grow up and become the first pick in the draft. I think it gives people everywhere a little extra hope.‖ "The opportunity to visit President Obama at the White House is a great honor for the Chicago Bulls organization," stated Steve Schanwald, Executive Vice President of Business Operations for the team, prior to the meeting. "The President has been a fan of the Bulls for many years and we are very appreciative of this opportunity to say hello to him and pay our respects" (Fluck, 2009). Date: February 27, 2009 Source: NBC Sports, Associated Press Title/Headline: Obama Takes In Wizards‟ Win Over Bulls Abstract: Caron Butler implored the officials not to start the game until a certain special spectator reached his front-row seat. And when President Barack Obama finally arrived Friday night, delaying the tipoff by a few minutes, Butler and the rest of the Washington Wizards set out to send a message to the First Fan by beating his Chicago Bulls. ―He truly is a die-hard Bulls fan,‖ Butler said. ―Hopefully we can convert him a little bit.‖ With the Hoopster-in-Chief at courtside — the first president in nearly a decade to make the mile-or-so jaunt over from the White House to attend an NBA game — and buoyed by a louder-than-usual crowd in a fuller-than-usual arena, Butler and his last-place Wizards embarrassed Obama‘s team with a 113-90 victory over the Bulls (NBC Sports, 2009). Date: March 18, 2009 Source: ESPN, Andy Katz Title/Headline: Presidential Pick 'Em At The White House Abstract: President Barack Obama has studied Lincoln and FDR to help guide him through the early stages of his presidency. But he is very much a modern man, never too far from keeping up with the latest college basketball injury updates, the depth issues of Oklahoma, the strong finish by Florida State and the late entry into the NCAA tournament by Arizona. So on a Tuesday afternoon in the White House Map Room, we wait for the president to fill out his official bracket. The oversized whiteboard, with a presidential seal, sits on an easel a few feet below a framed, formerly top-secret situation map from April 3, 1945. It details the strength of certain German divisions and includes projections for the German army for May 1, 1945. President Franklin D. Roosevelt died nine days after this map was made. Germany surrendered in Europe a month later on May 7. History creaks around every corner of this place, from the framed paintings of former presidents and first ladies to the chandeliers hanging above the state dining room to a coffee pot used by President John Adams more than 200 years ago. But the juxtaposition of a president well-versed in the history of the men who have held the office before him and the brand-new playground that was built for first daughters Sasha and Malia about 50 feet outside the Oval Office makes doing a tourney bracket in the nation's most treasured house seem less surreal. For many of us in our 40s, the NCAA tournament became a major sporting event beginning with the 1979 championship game featuring Michigan State's Magic Johnson and Indiana State's Larry Bird (Magic and the Spartans prevailed). It was no different for Obama, who was a senior in high school at the time. "The memory of Magic, and Bird, and [Greg] Kelser, all those guys … it was an unbelievable game, and invigorated not only college basketball but ultimately pro basketball as well," Obama said. "So for any kind of basketball fan, Indiana State-Michigan State, that still is one of the greatest games of all time." The first round of this year's tournament begins Thursday, and plenty of White House workers, as well as countless office personnel around the country, might slip away for a few minutes to watch some of the games. Will Obama? "I think the chances are high," he said. The president doesn't want to touch the field of 65, so you won't find him pushing for expansion. He relishes this format and doesn't want any sort of change, unlike his publicized stance on the need for a college football playoff system. "This is it," Obama said pointing to the bracket. "This is it. You know, you don't want to start … letting it be like the NBA. People who are sub-.500 get into the playoffs. There's something wrong with that." So with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates holding meetings nearby, and a state dinner with Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen to come -- it was St. Patrick's Day, after all, and the president had on a green tie as the fountains showered green-dyed water -- Obama slipped down to the Map Room to break down the bracket. He proved to be as educated and knowledgeable as those who make this a trade. The president had worked on his bracket earlier in the morning, going over it with press secretary Robert Gibbs, an Auburn, Ala., native who was still disappointed his Tigers didn't advance far enough in the SEC tournament to land a bid. Obama, though, didn't seem to need much advice when it came time to pick. He dove right into the first round, with only a few upsets here and there, notably No. 11 VCU over No. 6 UCLA in the East Regional in Philadelphia. "VCU, I think, has been playing strong, and I hate to say this, because my brother-in-law is in the Pac-10 right now, but the Pac-10 has been looking pretty weak this year," Obama said. "I like that as an upset." He picked No. 11 Temple over No. 6 Arizona State in the South, too. Craig Robinson, Obama's brother-in-law, is the coach at Oregon State and led the Beavers to seven Pac-10 wins in his first season, after OSU went winless in the league a year ago. Obama picked against five of the six Pac-10 schools in the first round, selecting 4-seed Washington (over 13-seed Mississippi State) as the one league team to advance. "I want him to have an incentive, knowing that I think the rest of the Pac-10 can be taken next year," Obama said of Robinson's team, which earned a berth in the College Basketball Invitational with a 13-17 record. "I think the Beavers are on their way." Contrary to many brackets around the country, Obama went against a trendy 12-5 upset pick, selecting Utah over Arizona. Did it have anything to do with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), whom he defeated in last year's presidential election? "It has nothing to do with McCain," Obama said. "I think Arizona is a great state. I love playing golf there. But they just squeaked in." Washington was pegged as a second-round loser to Purdue, a team Obama was high on because of its finish. The president went with Villanova over VCU in the second round but picked Duke over Nova in the Sweet 16. Obama's personal aide, former Duke basketball and football player Reggie Love, was standing a few feet from the easel. Obama and Love are regular hoops players, and the latter watched his alma mater against Maryland last month at the Comcast Center. "Because of Reggie Love, I've got to pick Duke," Obama said. The whole way? "No, no, not the whole way. Come on," Obama said. How much influence does Love have? "He doesn't have that much influence," Obama said. He chided his aide by saying a year ago Love picked the Blue Devils to go all the way, and then added, "I think it sort of stopped here," pointing to the second round of the bracket. Florida State lost in the ACC tournament title game to Duke. Obama clearly knew the Seminoles have been on a roll of late, led by ACC Player of the Year runner-up Toney Douglas. But he picked Pitt to beat the Seminoles and advance to the Elite Eight against Duke. "Pitt is looking strong," he said. "I think [DeJuan] Blair is a man." In the 2008 election, Obama won Pittsburgh, a key city in the swing state of Pennsylvania. "I've had good luck with Pittsburgh," Obama said. "It turned Pennsylvania. They came through in the Super Bowl. So I figure let's keep riding them a little bit longer." My bracket has Pitt over Duke, too. Did he get my picks in advance? "I didn't look at your picks," Obama said with a laugh. "I promise you, to win, Andy, I'm not looking at your picks." Picking Pitt over Duke was his toughest selection. He looked over at Love and said that despite the "skilled perimeter players, they just don't have the muscle inside. I think Blair is going to eat them up." Love smiled, but his loyalty at this point in his life has to be to Obama, not Mike Krzyzewski. "Reggie says [Kyle] Singler is going to be able to guard Blair," Obama said. "I don't think so." So Pitt advanced out of the East to Obama's Final Four. North Carolina is his pick in the South. A year ago, when he was still Senator Obama from Illinois, he played a pickup game with the Tar Heels after the Final Four during a campaign stop in Chapel Hill before the North Carolina Democratic primary. "Here's what I like about Carolina: experience and balance," Obama said. When asked about the issue of point guard Ty Lawson's toe, Obama responded, "I'm a little concerned about that. But I've got to assume that he's coming to play." Further down in the bracket, Obama said he hated to do it to his home state of Illinois, but he went with Gonzaga over the Illini. He knew coach Bruce Weber's team missed the NCAAs last year, but "they're making progress," Obama said. Syracuse got the nod to play Oklahoma in the Sweet 16 at the bottom half of the South bracket. "The problem with Oklahoma, they have the player of the year [Blake Griffin], but they play, like, seven guys," Obama said. "I think you start getting worn down." Obama said he watched the ESPN highlights of Syracuse's six-overtime win against Connecticut in the Big East tournament quarterfinals. Why he didn't last into the night? "I can't be staying up until 2 in the morning," he said. "I've got work to do." He picked North Carolina over Syracuse in the South Regional final, setting up a Pitt-UNC national semifinal. Louisville coach Rick Pitino was an assistant at Hawaii when Obama was living in Honolulu. Obama, who was known as "Barry O'Bomber" when he played for Punahou High, said he used to go to the old Neal Blaisdell Arena on the University of Hawaii campus. "I saw him at Blaisdell and always thought he was a great coach," Obama said. "So I think he's going to do a good job here." Louisville sailed through to Obama's Sweet 16. Obama liked West Virginia, but couldn't go against Kansas for a number of reasons. His late mother, Ann Dunham, was from Kansas. He also just named Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius the new secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Oh, and there's one other reason: "Kansas is a young team, maturing -- Bill Self has done an outstanding job there." But he still went with Michigan State over the Jayhawks in the Sweet 16. "[MSU coach Tom] Izzo always has great teams," he said. Obama had Louisville over Michigan State to reach Detroit. In the West, Obama advanced Connecticut and Purdue to the Sweet 16, with the Huskies winning. He struggled with Marquette and Missouri in the bottom part of the bracket. He knew Dominic James was out for the Golden Eagles and, after hedging, went with Mizzou to advance to the Sweet 16. Obama went local with Maryland over Cal, but had Memphis beating Maryland and Missouri. "I think Memphis has got a very athletic team," Obama said. "I think they've got a good shot." Obama said UConn is a "fine institution" but picked Memphis in the West Regional final, "so that's my Final Four right there." During at least the start of Final Four weekend, the president will be with first lady Michelle Obama and his key staff members at the NATO summit in France during a March 31-April 5 trip to England, France, Germany and the Czech Republic. "We're going to be watching it, but it will probably be 2 in the morning where we are," Obama said. "I'm not going to be able to watch any game the whole way through, but we're going to be checking the scores." What if he's on Air Force One during the games? "Air Force One does have DirecTV," Obama answered. With his final selections, the president had Louisville beating old rival Memphis in one semifinal and North Carolina outlasting Pitt in the other. The overall winner? The most powerful person in the world is like many of you: He predicts the Tar Heels will be cutting down the nets in Detroit. "I'm going with experience, and I think that Lawson is going to be healthy. I think having an experienced point guard who can control the game and make free throws at the end, that's going to be the difference," Obama said. The commander in chief then turned to an ESPN camera, offering this pep talk for coach Roy Williams' crew: "Now, for the Tar Heels who are watching, I picked you all last year -- you let me down. This year, don't embarrass me in front of the nation, all right? I'm counting on you. I still got those sneakers you guys gave me." Regardless of the pep talk to UNC, I didn't budge, sticking with my original pick of Pittsburgh to win it all. "If Pitt wins, you'll get some commemorative White House M&M's," Obama said. "What do I get?" Maybe some ESPN swag, Mr. President? "An ESPN T-shirt?" Obama laughed. "A water bottle?" And then he was off, with his bracket in hand, folded and ready to reference on Thursday as the first-round results come trickling in. As we exited, one senior staffer said this might have been the one "fun thing" the president did all day. The serious work -- and there's plenty of it -- was taken care of before and after our brief meeting. But during those 20 minutes in the Map Room, one thing became readily apparent: As will be the case in so many houses throughout this vast nation, the upcoming NCAA tournament -- this communal event we call March Madness -- will certainly have its place in the nation's First Home of Hoops. And if you don't believe me, let's have someone from the Secret Service check the trash bin next to the president's desk in the Oval Office. Chances are there will be a torn and crumpled-up bracket in there by this time next week. And hey, who can't relate to that? (Katz, 2009). Date: March 19, 2009 Source: Washington Post, Mary Ann Akers Title/Headline: Obama Likens His Bowling Game To Special Olympics Abstract: President Obama seemed relaxed and in good cheer tonight during his appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." But there was one misstep that surely made his advisers wince. Leno asked the president whether the White House bowling alley had been "burned and closed down" in light of Obama's gutter ball embarrassment on the campaign trail last year. Obama replied, "No, no. I have been practicing . . . I bowled a 129." The audience roared with laughter, and the late-night talk show host assured Obama "that's very good, Mr. President." To which Obama interjected, "It's like -- it was like Special Olympics, or something." The audience laughed. But the White House didn't let the comment linger without clarification. "The president made an offhand remark making fun of his own bowling that was in no way intended to disparage the Special Olympics," White House spokesman Bill Burton told reporters flying aboard Air Force One after the taping of the show, according to a transcript released by the White House. "He thinks that the Special Olympics are a wonderful program that gives an opportunity to shine to people with disabilities from around the world." Also on the "Tonight Show," Leno asked the president when he would finally be making good on his famous campaign promise to reward his daughters with a puppy, which so far hasn't surfaced. "Listen, this is Washington. That was a campaign promise," the president deadpanned to much laughter. The president said he was "teasing," and explained that as soon as he returns from the NATO summit in France in Germany early next month, the "dog will be in place." Leno asked if the dog would be a "Portuguese Water Head," referencing first lady Michelle Obama's recent suggestion that the first family was leaning toward a Portuguese Water Dog. The president laughed and said, "It's not a 'water head.' That sounds like a scary dog. Sort of dripping around the house." But the first dad gave absolutely no hints about what kind of dog - or puppy - it will be. "We're going to get a dog that is -- that I think the girls will have a great time -- I think I'm going to have a lot of fun with it. You know, they say if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." And according to the schedule the president described, his girls will have their new furry friend by Easter (Akers, 2009). Date: March 19, 2009 Source: Fox News, Associated Press Title/Headline: Duke Coach To Obama: Worry About The Economy, Not NCAA Picks Abstract: Barack Obama picked North Carolina to defeat Louisville for the NCAA championship, a relatively safe selection for a trailblazing president. Obama spent part of Tuesday making his tournament picks for ESPN, which posted his completed bracket online Wednesday and showed the First Fan filling it out with Andy Katz on the noon edition of "Sportscenter." Of course, the president's choice drew a reaction from the Tar Heels' most intense rival. "Somebody said that we're not in President Obama's Final Four, and as much as I respect what he's doing, really, the economy is something that he should focus on, probably more than the brackets," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said from the Blue Devils' first-round site in Greensboro, N.C. The president had top-seeded Pittsburgh join the No. 1-seeded Tar Heels and Cardinals in the Final Four, but chose second-seeded Memphis to beat Connecticut in the West Regional. "I think Memphis has got a very athletic team," Obama told Katz, an ESPN college basketball analyst. "I think they've got a good shot." Perhaps showing some indecision, Obama initially had the Panthers playing Louisville for the national title in the file posted online. Pitt was scratched out of the title game in favor of North Carolina, which in turn replaced Louisville in the "champion" box. "Here's what I like about Carolina: experience and balance," Obama said. Familiarity, too. Obama played a pickup game with Tyler Hansbrough and the Tar Heels while campaigning in North Carolina last April. "Now, for all the Tar Heels who are watching, I picked you last year -- you let me down," Obama said. "This year, don't embarrass me in front of the nation, all right? I'm counting on you. I still got those sneakers you guys gave me." Katz interviewed Obama last October for a story about the president's brother-in-law, Oregon State basketball coach Craig Robinson. After the interview, Obama invited Katz to play in a pickup basketball game on Election Day in Chicago, and he did. Katz extracted a promise from Obama that if elected, the new president would reveal his NCAA picks to ESPN when the pairings were announced in March. "They stayed true to their word and didn't hesitate to get it done," Katz said. (Fox News, 2009). Date: March 30, 2009 Source: The New York Times Title/Headline: Obama‟s N.B.A. Picks Abstract: President Barack Obama’s NCAA basketball picks have been well-documented, thanks to ESPN, which scored an interview with him two weeks ago in which he meticulously went through his selections with the sports network’s college hoops guru, Andy Katz. But the First Fan – who picked North Carolina to win the tournament — has been publicly silent on his picks for the upcoming National Basketball playoffs. Until now. At the end of an interview Friday with the New York Times (ostensibly about Vice President Joseph R. Biden), Mr. Obama was asked which teams he anticipated would meet in the NBA finals. His prediction: Cleveland would play the Los Angeles Lakers. No Celtics-Lakers rematch, in other words. The president did not predict a winner, but was effusive about the Lebron James-led Cavaliers. ―I’m telling you, those Cavs,‖ Mr. Obama marveled. ―They’ve only lost one game all year at home. Thirty-five and one.‖ (Actually 33 and 1, as of Friday.) ―And they have home court advantage. That‘s pretty impressive‖ (The New York Times, 2009). Date: April 22, 2009 Source: NAVY, Donna Miles Title/Headline: Obama Honors Navy Football Team For Commitment To Team, Country Abstract: President Barack Obama presented the U.S. Naval Academy football team the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy April 21 during a White House Rose Garden ceremony. Obama extended congratulations to the midshipmen from Annapolis, Md., who bested both the U.S. Military Academy "Black Knights" 34-0 and the U.S. Air Force Academy "Falcons" 33-27 during the 2008 season. The wins earned Navy the coveted Commander-in-Chief's Trophy – and a trip to the White House to receive it -- for the sixth consecutive year. "By now, you guys know your way around here better than I do," Obama said at the ceremony. Obama offered high praise to Navy for its "fearsome offense" as well as the nation's most-improved defense. But amid the levity of the event, he identified attributes that make Navy's players unique, including the top graduation rate in the NCAA for four consecutive years and a demanding schedule of coursework and military training. Obama noted that all 32 seniors on the Navy team are "preparing to trade one proud uniform for another – and that's the United States of America's uniform." And although the Navy team has won a record 13 consecutive service academy games dating back to the 2002 Army-Navy game, the president told them, "You're all joining the same team now." "Football, it's said, makes boys into men," he said. "But the academy makes men and women into leaders. And the bonds that you've built and the lessons that you've learned on that field and in your 'four years by the Bay' have prepared you to join and lead the finest fighting force in the history of the world." Obama, who is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at this year's Naval Academy graduation, told the team he has no greater honor or responsibility than serving as their commander in chief. "I'm proud of you," he said. "And I promise you this," he continued. "From the minute you put on that uniform to the minute you take it off, and for all the days of your life, this country will stand behind you and will be here for you, because we know that you will be there for us." During today's ceremony, Obama recognized Lt. Cmdr. Wesley Brown, who in 1949 became the U.S. Naval Academy's first black graduate, and for whom the academy's new field house is named. The president also recalled his Hawaiian roots, recognizing two fellow Hawaiians: team coach Ken Niumatalolo and Midshipman Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, the starting quarterback. Rendering a "shaka" or Hawaiian "hang loose" sign in during the ceremony, Obama noted Niumatalolo's calmness under pressure. "That's the Hawaiian spirit," Obama said. "That's how we roll‖ (Miles, 2009). Date: April 23, 2009 Source: Orlando Sentinel, Mark Matthews Title/Headline: Lawmakers Greet Champion Gators Before White House Reception With President Obama Abstract: The Capitol Hill crowd isn't known for its boisterous parties, but lawmakers and staffers today mobbed a reception hall at the Library of Congress to cheer the Florida Gators hours before the defending national football champions were to visit the White House. Congressional aides arrived with helmets, footballs and programs to sign and U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Bartow, even did the gator chomp as soon as he arrived. "It's huge man. But it's getting kind of old. Another year, another championship," said Putnam, who graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in economics. "it's great that, for a few hours, that the nation's capitol is the capitol of Gators nation." Another lawmaker, U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Ocala, presented the team with a flag that he flew over the capitol on Jan. 8 – the day that the Gators beat the Oklahoma Sooners 24-14. "That shows how much confidence I had that the Gators would win," he said. As for the players, they said the experience wasn't too much different than meeting other fans, except for the Washington crowd wore more ties. "It's the same, but different attire. But they're still Gator nation," said running back Jeff Demps. But he compared the upcoming experience of meeting President Obama to the nerves before a game. "When you're suiting up to play, you're fired up [and] I'm fired up to see President Obama. It's kind of like the same feeling," said the rising sophomore who attended South Lake High School. Meanwhile, offensive lineman Corey Hobbs, said the Washington trip was piquing his interest in politics and that he was hoping to get involved in student government this summer. "I'd like to have a say in the future," said Hobbs, of Oviedo, who also hopes to go to law school (Matthews, 2009). Date: April 27, 2009 Source: The Huffington Post, Andrew Miga Title/Headline: Obama Plays Basketball With UConn Women's Team Abstract: Championship ceremony is a White House standard for sports teams. Shooting hoops with the president, now that's something to remember. Moments after Monday's event in front of the South Portico, President Barack Obama hustled the University of Connecticut's women's basketball team over to the outdoor half-court, away from reporters and cameras. The president, a former high school player and avid fan who still plays pickup games, prevailed in a brief, impromptu game of P-I-G with a few of the players. "He was pretty good from 17 feet," said coach Geno Auriemma. "His shot's a little unorthodox, but it goes in ... He's got a little bit of that swagger." Renee Montgomery, a senior guard, said Obama only missed one shot and that he sank a final fade- away shot from off the court. "He was all over the perimeter," said junior center Tina Charles. After about 10 minutes, Obama walked back to the White House with his sleeves rolled up and his suit jacket slung over his shoulder. Connecticut dominated women's college basketball this season, going 39-0 and beating opponents by an average of better than 30 points. They capped the season earlier this month in St. Louis with a 76-54 victory over Louisville. It was Connecticut's sixth national college championship and third perfect season. "Under coach Auriemma's leadership, this Huskies program has redefined excellence again and again," Obama said. The president also praised the academic achievements of the players. The team gave Obama a basketball signed by the players and a Connecticut jersey emblazoned with "1" and his name on the back. "Number One _ that's what I'm talking about," Obama joked. "I will wear it when I'm playing." Obama said that as the father of two young daughters, he especially appreciates the success of female athletes like the Connecticut team. "My girls look at the TV when I'm watching 'SportsCenter' and they see women staring back," Obama said of the ESPN program, a personal favorite. "That shows them that they can be champions, too" (Miga, 2009). Date: April 29, 2009 Source: The Wall Street Journal, Matthew Futterman, Amy Chozick Title/Headline: Is Obama The 'Sports' President? Abstract: One hundred days into President Obama's administration, there is little mystery about where the president's extracurricular interests lie. After his inauguration, the president hosted a Super Bowl party, correctly picked North Carolina to win the NCAA men's basketball tournament and sat courtside for a Bulls-Wizards NBA game. He works out nearly every day, sports a Chicago White Sox cap and plays pick-up basketball with his buddies. This week he played P-I-G against the champion University of Connecticut women's hoops team. The president is also jumping into the fray on a host of controversial sports issues. A Democrat who believes in the power of government to force change, Mr. Obama is using his bully pulpit in a manner that could ultimately give him the most expansive sports résumé for any president since Theodore Roosevelt. Before taking office, he pushed for a college football playoff to declare a national champion instead of the patchwork system of bowl games. In his first three-plus months in office, he has spoken out on behalf of Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics, lobbied for the U.S. to host soccer's World Cup in 2018 or 2022, and even delivered a national tongue-lashing to Alex Rodriguez after the Yankees slugger acknowledged using a performance-enhancing drug during parts of three seasons. "It's so much a part of what he does, it's almost as if this is becoming a post-sports presidency," said John Sayle Watterson, author of "The Games Presidents Play: Sports and the Presidency." Some say it's also good politics. "Intellectually he's so lofty that I think he feels it's necessary to bring himself down a bit," said Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University. "There is nothing better to temper that loftiness than sports." While Teddy Roosevelt is largely seen as the modern standard-bearer for sportsmen presidents, sports have played a significant role in lives and work of numerous commanders in chief since 1900, considered the beginning of the modern era for organized sports in the U.S. Teddy Roosevelt clearly set the bar high, and Mr. Obama is trying to reach it. Earlier this month, the International Olympic Committee's site evaluation group began its visit to Chicago watching a four-minute video Mr. Obama taped pleading his hometown's case. Mr. Obama also intends to be in Copenhagen in October when the IOC is scheduled to decide the Chicago's Olympic fate. Also this month, he wrote to Joseph S. Blatter, president of soccer's governing body, FIFA, stating the case for a U.S. World Cup by citing his own experiences with the game as a child in Jakarta and as a soccer-dad in Chicago. During the winter, Mr. Obama took time in his first prime time news conference to show his personal disdain for Mr. Rodriguez's steroid use, saying the revelation "tarnishes an entire era." As for creating of a college football playoff, Mr. Obama can wield little in the way of formal influence over the debate. However, NCAA officials have been put on notice that any plan they come up is going to have one very powerful critic weighing in (Futterman & Chozick, 2009). Date: May 11, 2009 Source: The Washington Post, Michael D. Shear Title/Headline: Obama Congratulates The Tar Heels Abstract: When the president's number one assistant is a Duke man and a former basketball champion, you might think the Tar Heels wouldn't be welcome. But when the president famously picks the North Carolina team to win the NCAA tournament, and they succeed, the invitations get put in the mail. And so today, President Obama hosted the 2009 NCAA champion team from the University of North Carolina on the South Lawn of the White House, offering his congratulations but choosing not to shoot a few hoops on the presidential court. "Welcome to the White House and congratulations," Obama said after emerging from the White House at 2:11 p.m. It took only two minutes to get to his real message: "More importantly," he said, "thanks for salvaging my bracket and vindicating me in the eyes of everyone." Obama's personal assistant, Reggie Love, is a former Duke player whose membership on the 2001 team makes him a former champion. Obama noted the rivalry, saying that everyone on his staff was excited about the team's arrival -- except maybe Love. "He wants to scrimmage with you guys," Obama said. "We'll arrange that." Obama offered serious praise for the team's academic achievement, noting that they had the highest number of graduates of any of the final four teams. He had specific kudos for Coach Roy Williams, who he said was committed to the development of his players as men as well as athletes. But it was clear that Obama -- who fancies himself a pretty good basketball player -- was loving this particular perk of being president. He joked with Tar Heels guard Jack Wooten, reminding him of the scrimmage Obama had with the team as a candidate last year. He noted that both he and the team had good luck after that -- "They're now national champions and I'm now president." -- but recalled that Wooten roughed him up. "He stole the ball from me, blocked my shot," Obama said, adding that there were "no hard feelings." Williams presented Obama with a white-and-powder-blue Tar Heels jersey -- "OBAMA 1" -- and several senior members of the team gave the president a large, framed picture of the scrimmage from last year (Shear, 2009). Date: May 16, 2009 Source: USA Today, Associated Press Title/Headline: Obama Salutes Underdog Phillies' Title At White House Abstract: President Barack Obama has told the Philadelphia Phillies that their 2008 World Series run was similar to his winning presidential campaign — both were underdogs. Obama welcomed the baseball team to the White House on Friday and said, "Nobody thought I would win, either." He singled out star shortstop Jimmy Rollins for making calls on Obama's behalf during last year's campaign. Rollins presented Obama with a jersey and baseball, but the president wanted more. Obama jokingly asked for Rollins' World Series ring. The Phillies were scheduled to meet the president on April 14. But that visit was postponed after the death of Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas the day before (USA Today, 2009). Date: May 21, 2009 Source: Google News, AFP Title/Headline: Obama Greets Champion Steelers At White House Abstract: President Barack Obama welcomed the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers to the White House on Thursday, celebrating the National Football League squad's record sixth championship. Obama said before February's NFL title game that he was cheering for the Steelers, whose 1970s stars made a lasting impression upon him, but that his first loyalties will always remain with his hometown Chicago Bears. "I already told these guys no matter how big they are, I am a Bears fan, but it is no secret that I was pulling for the Steelers during the Super Bowl last year," Obama said. "This isn't me trying to have it both ways. Growing up in Hawaii when I was a kid we didn't have a local football team. "When I started playing and started paying attention to football, it was guys like Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris and the Steel Curtain... Those were the guys that were playing and so I became a Steelers fan." Two months ago, Obama named Dan Rooney, the Steelers' chairman, as ambassador to Ireland. "I don't know of anybody who is more of a gentlemen who is more loyal or who is more committed to excellence than Mr. Rooney," Obama said. "And he is humble. This kind of attention embarrasses him but he has no choice." Obama also praised Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who joined his successful campaign to win the key swing state of Pennsylvania in last November's general election. "This is a new team for a new era and that embodied by coach Tomlin," Obama said. "He didn't just win the Super Bowl. He also happened to be NFL Coach of the Year, the youngest coach ever to win a Super Bowl." The Steelers and US soldiers worked to assemble care packages for US troops during the appearance (AFP, 2009). Date: June 2, 2009 Source: NBA, Associated Press Title/Headline: President Obama Selects Lakers To Win NBA Finals Abstract: OK, Mr. President, let's see how you do picking the pro game. Barack Obama was on his way to the Marine One helicopter on the South Lawn on Tuesday when a reporter shouted a question. The topic: Who is going to win the NBA championship, the Los Angeles Lakers or the Orlando Magic? Said the smiling president: "Lakers in six, I think." In sports terms, that means the Lakers will win the best-of-seven series in six games. The series begins Thursday. So far so good this year for Obama. A huge basketball fan, he correctly predicted that that the University of North Carolina men's basketball team would win the NCAA championship. Obama was leaving Tuesday for an overnight trip to the Middle East (NBA, 2009). Date: July 9, 2009 Source: The Huffington Post, Charles Babington Title/Headline: Brazilian President Gifts Obama Signed Soccer Jersey Abstract: President Barack Obama seemed pleased with the gift he received Thursday from Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, but it was bittersweet nonetheless. Silva gave Obama, a big sports fan, an autographed yellow Brazilian soccer jersey at the start of their morning meeting at the G-8 summit in Italy. During their banter, which reporters partly heard through a translator, Silva spoke animatedly of the June 28 soccer match between the U.S. and Brazilian national teams in the Confederations Cup series. The game was a crushing loss for the underdog Americans, who led at the midway point, 2-0, only to lose 3-2. Silva repeatedly said, "Yes we can," which was Obama's campaign catchphrase and apparently what the Brazilian president had in mind while his team trailed. Obama smiled gamely; if he felt Silva was rubbing it in a bit, he didn't let on. "Hey, look at this," Obama said of the jersey, signed by the Brazilian team's players. "Beautiful. All right, wonderful. I like that." White House spokesman Robert Gibbs later said Obama ended his 30- minute session with Silva by patting the Brazilian's back and vowing, "we will not lose a two-point lead again." Michelle Obama shook her head as she took in the extent of the damage, gazing upon centuries-old churches and other treasures rubbled by an earthquake that claimed more than 300 lives. Obama and other first spouses on Thursday toured the ghostlike historic center of L'Aquila, the Italian city devastated by the April tremor and hosting world leaders this week for the G-8 summit (Babington, 2009). Date: June 17, 2009 Source: Sandra Rose Title/Headline: Why Did LeBron Visit The White House When He Didn‟t Win The NBA Championship? Abstract: The Cleveland papers report that NBA star LeBron James and a few of his homies visited Barack Obama in the White House on Monday. This is odd since traditionally the NBA champs visit the president, not the sore losers. But I guess tradition and protocol go out the window when your home boy is president. I wonder how Kobe Bean and the Lakers feel about LeBron visiting before they even get in the door? This brings up an interesting fact about Obama refusing to ante up the names of visitors to the White House since he became president. You may recall that Obama campaigned against such secrecy when Bush was still in the White House. Obama didn’t see any reason why the White House visitors list should be kept a secret. But now that he is president, of course he changes his tune. Well, there’s a federal lawsuit winding its way through the courts — and a federal judge has twice ordered that the Secret Service produce the list of names. But ole Obama is stubbornly blocking the release of those names until the case reaches the Supreme court I guess. This means that information which should be made public is being withheld by Obama, who promised transparency in his administration. Lol. This also means that Obama can sneak a chick or two into the White House and we, or for that matter, Michelle Obama, would never know it (Rose, 2009). Date: June 13, 2009 Source: NBC, Associated Press Title/Headline: Obama Welcomes Columbus Crew To White House Abstract: President Barack Obama has welcomed soccer's Columbus Crew to the White House to congratulate the team on its MLS championship. Obama on Monday joined the team from Ohio in the Rose Garden to honor a turnaround from a losing season in 2007 to the best record in the league for 2008. The president joked that he's been watching plenty of soccer these days -- for his daughters' games. He says he's learned two main rules for youth soccer: no matter the position, players should run toward the ball all at once; and snacks at halftime must never be forgotten. Obama says soccer's popularity is on the rise in the United States and that the national team has been playing with distinction (NBC News, 2009). Date: July 14, 2009 Source: MLB (Major League Baseball), Jonathan Mayo Title/Headline: Obama Visits FOX Booth, Keeps It Light Abstract: President Barack Obama is used to doing interviews on national TV, but the topics usually range from the economic crisis to the war in Iraq. On Tuesday night, he got a brief respite from the normal line of questioning when he joined Joe Buck and Tim McCarver in the FOX broadcast booth during the bottom of the second inning of the All-Star Game. Obama's time in the booth was filled with light banter about his ceremonial first pitch, his choice of wardrobe and his thoughts on the state of the game. The president was relieved he got the chance to warm up for this first pitch, something that wasn't the case when he was a senator and had the same honor during the 2005 American League Championship Series. "When you're a senator, they show you no respect, so they just hand you the ball," Obama told Buck and McCarver. "You don't get a chance to warm up. Now here, I was with Albert Pujols in the batting cage practicing before. "To go down there, to meet Stan Musial, Bob Gibson and those guys, it's such a reminder of what's great about this country. You can't beat it and it's a real treat." The president had made no qualms about where his loyalties on the field are and Buck gave him credit for not "playing it down the middle" by wearing non-team-specific garb. "Everyone knows I'm a White Sox fan and my wife thinks I look cute in this jacket," Obama quipped. "Between those two things, why not?" In fact, the president wanted to take some credit for his favorite team's good fortunes back in that 2005 season. After his first pitch, he pointed out, Chicago could do no wrong en route to winning the World Series. "It was just wonderful," Obama said. "I was just talking to Jerry Reinsdorf, the White Sox owner, about this. After I threw out my pitch, they won eight straight after losing the first game. Any of these teams need a lefty?" The president showed a pretty good grasp of the game beyond the South Side of Chicago, discussing how the overall season was shaping up with the FOX broadcasting duo. "I tell you what, though, what's been interesting about baseball this year, other than the Dodgers, who have been playing great baseball," Obama said. "There's a lot of parity, which I think is terrific, because it means everybody around the country has a little bit of hope for the team." Obama has developed a bit of a reputation for his prowess as a sports prognosticator. Buck pointed out that he's 2-for-2, referring to Obama correctly picking the Steelers to win the Super Bowl in February and the University of North Carolina to win the NCAA men's basketball title in April. He couldn't entice the president, however, to make a call on the 2009 Major League Baseball season. "It's a little early for that," Obama said. "You know, I tend to try to get a little more information‖ (Mayo, 2009). Date: July 14, 2009 Source: ESPN, Associated Press Title/Headline: Williams Visits Obama At White House Abstract: It was tennis before baseball for President Barack Obama on Tuesday. Before heading off to St. Louis to throw the first pitch at the All-Star Game, the president welcomed Wimbledon champion Serena Williams to the White House. "It was amazing," Williams said before her World Team Tennis match with the Washington Kastles. "I love President Obama; he has such an unbelievable presence, and he seems to be so normal -- and he noticed my shoes. I think that was the highlight of the whole day, was he liked my shoes." Williams said she was wearing five-inch heels for the presidential visit. "He asked me, 'Should I be wearing high heels?' So I thought that was kind of funny because he may have been right," Williams said. "Because it is a job hazard for me, but I insist on wearing them." Williams got to meet Michelle Obama and the rest of the first family. "I didn't know she had such an amazing personality," Williams said. "She had me cracking up and laughing. I knew she was a great person, but now I really understand how important this first family is to the United States. And the kids were just so cute and sweet, and the dog was nice‖ (ESPN, 2009). Date: July 15, 2009 Source: NY Daily News, Mark Feinsand Title/Headline: President Obama Throws First Pitch At 2009 All-Star Game In St. Louis Abstract: Barack Obama may not have fired a perfect strike with his ceremonial first pitch, but the President did more than enough to draw rave reviews from the All-Stars Tuesday night. Obama visited the AL and NL clubhouses before last night's Midsummer Classic, showing off his knowledge of the game while having some fun with many of the best players in the majors. "It was wonderful to meet him," Mariano Rivera said. "He said, 'Keep throwing that cutter.' It was outstanding. I know he's the President of the United States, but he was a regular man." Obama is the seventh President to appear at an MLB All-Star Game, but only the fourth to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, joining John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, who did it twice. "Without question, that's the thing I'll take from this All-Star Game," Derek Jeter said. "He said he was a fan, which is kind of hard to believe when you think that he's the President." Obama signed baseballs for several players in both leagues, including the Mets' Francisco Rodriguez and Johan Santana. "He seemed like a really humble person," Rodriguez said. "He was walking around and shaking hands with all of the guys. When you think about the President, you think he's a guy really restricted. He was the opposite. I really enjoyed that experience." The President toed the rubber to throw the ceremonial first pitch to Cardinals fan favorite Albert Pujols, who spared Obama - sporting a White Sox jacket to represent his favorite team - the embarrassment of bouncing the pitch in front of home plate. "It was good," Rivera said of Obama's toss. "Nobody can hit that pitch." Following the lead of his predecessor, George W.Bush, who warmed up in the indoor batting cage at Yankee Stadium before throwing the first pitch before Game 3 of the 2001 World Series, Obama planned to throw a few pitches before taking the field for his big moment. "Well, I think it's fair to say that I want to loosen up my arm a little bit," Obama said earlier in the day. The President - then a U.S. Senator - last threw out a first pitch at a White Sox playoff game in 2005. "When you're a senator, they show you no respect, so they just hand you the ball," Obama said. "You don't get a chance to warm up. Now here, I was with Albert Pujols in the batting cage practicing before." Pujols was thrilled to be chosen as Obama's catcher. "Obviously it's an honor to catch the first pitch from the President, as our leader," he said. "Tomorrow I think it's going to get to me." Obama's All-Star appearance capped a day in which he welcomed Wimbledon champion Serena Williams to the White House and picked up Hall of Famer Willie Mays in Michigan for the flight to St.Louis. Mays' advice for Obama? "Follow through," Mays told reporters aboard Air Force One. "He'll be fine. I guarantee it (Feinsand, 2009). Date: July 15, 2009 Source: The Washington Times Title/Headline: Obama – A Sports Fan In Chief Abstract: From making March Madness bracket picks in the White House Map Room to thanking Russians for Washington Capitals hockey star Alex Ovechkin, President Obama is embracing his role as America's No. 1 sports fan. He plays basketball and golfs most weekends, and he's hosted nine sports teams from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Columbus Crew soccer champions at the White House since taking office in January - a record-setting pace. "The passion that Obama has is on the extreme side and shared by only a small handful of presidents," said Marc Ganis, a sports analyst and president of Chicago-based SportsCorp Ltd. Mr. Obama's enthusiasm goes beyond the usual photo-op. He knows his facts and he loves his Chicago teams - pro basketball's Bulls, pro football's Bears and big league baseball's White Sox. On Tuesday night, Mr. Obama was in the sports spotlight again, throwing the ceremonial first pitch at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in St. Louis and trading quips with Fox Sports play-by-play announcer Joe Buck - including an insult to the Washington Nationals' lousy season. The southpaw president had practiced his delivery in the White House Rose Garden and in Busch Stadium for a warm-up session with St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols. Mr. Obama was hoping for a better pitch than his 2005 attempt at the Angels-White Sox game, but his pitch was short of the plate. Still, the president did a fist pump after the throw and later told Mr. Buck that baseball is "such a reminder about what's great about this country. You can't beat it‖ "This is as much fun as I've had in quite some time," he added. His color commentary included "Uh-oh" on a tough play, and "How 'bout that?" during a good moment. He also joked baseball couldn't have a federal bailout because "We're out of money." In the locker room before the game, Mr. Obama hugged players and signed autographs. Mr. Obama, who took to the mound in a White Sox jacket, was introduced to TV viewers as "A Sox fan through and through." "I like the fact that he's active in sports," a Washington ESPN Zone bartender said as Mr. Obama was on the jumbo television screen. Former President George W. Bush, a former part-owner of the Texas Rangers franchise, threw out several first pitches and also was known to love sports. His first year in office, Mr. Bush hosted six teams and some Hall of Fame inductees at the White House, according to a tally kept by Mark Knoller of CBS News, the unofficial presidential historian for the press corps. The Obama White House is similarly sports-obsessed, and Mr. Obama has Mr. Bush beat - the current president has hosted nine teams in less than six months. "Bush in total hosted 40 sports teams [over eight years]. Obama is on his way to besting that record," said John Sayle Watterson, author of "The Games Presidents Play: Sports and the Presidency." Mr. Obama also works sports references into just about everything - noting his Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is a "lifelong" New York Yankees fan and lauding the Russian-born Mr. Ovechkin, hockey's reigning most valuable player, during a speech in Moscow last week. Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig told reporters in St. Louis that the White House accepted his invitation for Mr. Obama to throw the opening pitch within 24 hours, noting that made him happy because Mr. Obama has had such a busy schedule this month "No matter what one thinks politically, right or left or whatever, this is a big thing. The players will enjoy it. The fans will enjoy it," Mr. Selig said. Mr. Ganis and Mr. Watterson said Mr. Obama is unusual among politicians because he is such an overt fan of his preferred teams - though he did waffle on his World Series choice when teams from the swing states of Florida (the Tampa Bay Rays) and Pennsylvania (the Phillies) were competing in October. The White House Flickr.com feed has posted photos of the president with a golf club or basketball, as well as 14 photos of Mr. Obama with a football. The administration also posted video of Mr. Obama shooting hoops with the University of Connecticut champion women's basketball team. Some are frustrated that the new president has not shown the local D.C. teams much love. The only Washington game he attended was when the Washington Wizards played the Bulls on Feb. 27 - one night after he treated the Chicago team to a White House tour. He sat courtside at the Verizon Center during the game. This White House frequently issues e-mails offering "readouts" of Mr. Obama's meetings and phone calls with foreign leaders. This summer, it also put out details of Mr. Obama's calls to Stanley Cup-winning Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma and Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson. The president congratulated each coach on their championship seasons and invited them to the White House. Mr. Obama went further with Jackson, expressing "interest in the Lakers' innovative triangle offense," according to the official White House "readout" of the call. At 86 words, the Jackson readout was shorter than the 123-word readout of Mr. Obama's calls to the Japanese prime minister on North Korea's nuclear test, but was 20 words longer than the official report on Mr. Obama's June call to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown (The Washington Times, 2009). Date: July 27, 2009 Source: UPI Title/Headline: President Obama Welcomes The WNBA Champions Detroit Shock To The White House In Washington Abstract: President Barack Obama poses with Detroit Shock captain Cheryl Ford (L) and team MVP Katie Smith of the 2008 WHBA Champions Detroit Shock as they give him a ball and a personalized jersey as Obama welcomes the team to the White House in Washington on July 27, 2009 (UPI, 2009). Date: September 10, 2009 Source: The Huffington Post, Darlene Superville Title/Headline: Obama Honors Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburg Penguins Abstract: President Barack Obama welcomed the 2009 Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins to the White House on Thursday and celebrated the hockey team for its performance on and off the ice. The Penguins won the best-of-seven series in June, defeating the defending champion Detroit Red Wings. They then took the cup on a road trip to thank their fans, an act that earned the players the thanks of a grateful president. "They took it on fishing trips and stopped by neighborhood barbecues. They visited elementary schools and brightened the days of children recovering in the hospital," Obama said during a ceremony that was moved indoors to the East Room because of threatening skies. "I think this Cup has even held a baby or two. So this is a team that understands that being a champion doesn't end when you step off the ice," Obama added. His administration is making an effort to encourage volunteerism and public service nationwide. Before arriving at the White House, the team held a hockey clinic for local children that was part of the administration's United We Serve summer of service. Some of those kids were in the audience to see Obama hoist the large trophy, accept a team jersey and pose for pictures. "That's what the Stanley Cup is all about. Not just having your names engraved alongside the best players in history, but also giving back to others along the way," the president said. "And this spirit of service helps to strengthen our communities, it strengthens our country, and I know the team gets a lot in return for it as well" (Superville, 2009). Date: October 2, 2009 Source: Fox News Title/Headline: Obamas Fail In Personal Pitch To Bring 2016 Olympics To Chicago Abstract: President Obama's failure to grab gold in his personal quest to send the 2016 Olympics to Chicago was a stunning setback for a president who has enjoyed a pop star reception abroad. But Obama's stumble may cost him more than the $1.2 million of taxpayer money to make the overnight dash from Washington to Copenhagen. Obama and first lady Michelle Obama risked their political capital and the prestige of the presidency on an enormous Olympic campaign that resulted in an early exit for Chicago and the top prize going to Rio de Janeiro. After returning to Washington, Obama said he wished he had come back with better news on the Olympics but congratulated Brazil and thanked everyone who worked on Chicago's bid. "I'm proud I was able to come in and help make the case in person," he said from the White House. "I believe it's always a worthwhile endeavor to promote and boost the United States of America and invite the world to see what we're all about." But critics immediately decried Obama's visit to Copenhagen, the first time a U.S. president made such an in-person appeal. "It demeans the office," said GOP consultant Brad Blakeman, a former Bush administration official. "For the president to be reduced to the effect of the Billy Mays pitchman for the United States to get the Olympics for his home city of Chicago is just not something that presidents do." Blakeman said Obama spent more time wooing International Olympic Committee officials than he did in his meeting with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, before returning to Washington. "His priorities are screwed up and the American people are seeing that this president just doesn't get the effects and importance of governing," Blakeman told FOX News. Instead of making a personal appearance, Blakeman said Obama should have sent a delegation led by the first lady and the mayor of Chicago. "But it does not warrant the participation of the president of the United States, especially when we didn't get the games," he said. "It puts his prestige on the line and we're rebuffed by a bunch...of thugs steeped in fraud and abuse and the president lowered his high office by doing this." The White House expressed no regret about Obama's effort. "There was never any guarantee. All the bids were strong; we knew that," senior White House adviser David Axelrod told FOX News minutes after Chicago was eliminated (Fox News, 2009). Date: November 28, 2009 Source: The Huffington Post Title/Headline: Obama Family Attends Oregon State-George Washington Game Abstract: President Obama attended today's Oregon State-George Washington University basketball game to cheer on his brother- in-law, Beavers coach Craig Robinson. The first lady, Malia and Sasha Obama, and President Obama's mother-in-law Marian Robinson were in attendance as well. According to the AP, the family was "intensely interested in the outcome." All of the cheering paid off, as Oregon State won, 64-57. Below, see photos of the Obamas rooting for the Beavers (The Huffington Post, 2009). Date: January 9, 2010 Source: ESPN, Associated Press Title/Headline: Spokesman: Obama Called UT's Brown Abstract: A Texas spokesman says President Barack Obama called Longhorns coach Mack Brown to congratulate him on the team's season that ended with a 37-21 loss to Alabama in the BCS championship game. Obama first met Brown and the Longhorns in 2008 when the then-Senator from Illinois was on campus to debate challenger Hillary Rodham Clinton during the Democratic primary. The president told Brown on Saturday he was disappointed for quarterback Colt McCoy that he was unable to play after injuring his shoulder on the Longhorns' first drive. Obama called Alabama coach Nick Saban on Friday to congratulate him on the Crimson Tide's title (ESPN, 2010). Date: January 25, 2010 Source: NBC Sports, Associated Press Title/Headline: Obama Welcomes Lakers To White House Abstract: President Barack Obama welcomed the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers to the White House Monday, praising the team for their accomplishments on the basketball court and their service in the community. An avid basketball fan himself, Obama said he gets enormous pleasure from watching excellence on the court — and nobody exemplified excellence more than the Lakers last year, as they won their 15th league title, defeating the Orlando Magic. Obama said he was especially excited to meet Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson, who has won 10 championships, though he didn’t hesitate to point out that six of those victories were with Obama’s hometown Chicago Bulls ―You remember that,‖ Obama joked with former Lakers all-star Magic Johnson, who was on the losing end of the Bulls 1991 victory. Obama commended the Lakers players not only for their athletic achievements, but also their work off the court. The players held a fitness clinic for Washington-area school children Monday, and several players are donating money to relief efforts in Haiti. The Lakers added to Obama‘s collection of sports jerseys, presenting him with a bright yellow jersey with the president‘s name stitched on the back (NBC Sports, 2010). Date: January 30, 2010 Source: NBC Sports, Associated Press Title/Headline: Headset On, Obama Does Hoops Commentary Abstract: There was a familiar voice behind the microphone during the Duke-Georgetown basketball game — that of Barack Obama. The president, attending as a fan, provided about seven minutes of nationally televised hoops commentary in the second half of Saturday’s matchup of two top 10 teams at the Verizon Center near the White House. The president shook hands with several fans as he entered the arena, and enjoyed the game from a front-row seat, not the luxury suites that top government officials sometimes prefer. Those with him included Vice President Joe Biden, White House senior adviser David Axelrod and White House spokesman Robert Gibbs (NBC Sports, 2010). Date: January 31, 2010 Source: ESPN, Associated Press Title/Headline: Obama On Hand For Duke-Georgetown Abstract: There was a familiar voice behind the microphone during the Duke-Georgetown basketball game -- that of Barack Obama. The president, attending as a fan, provided about seven minutes of nationally televised hoops commentary in the second half of Saturday's matchup of two top 10 teams at the Verizon Center near the White House. The president shook hands with several fans as he entered the arena, and enjoyed the game from a front-row seat, not the luxury suites that top government officials sometimes prefer. Those with him included Vice President Joe Biden, White House senior adviser David Axelrod and White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. Shortly after the second half began, the president was seated between CBS announcers Verne Lundquist and Clark Kellogg. Obama, an avid fan of the sport who often plays pickup basketball games, seemed to impress the pair. After Obama described a spin move and basket by one player, Kellogg told him he could handle the job of announcing. "After retirement, I'm coming after your job, Clark," Obama replied. "I'm just letting you know. So you either have three more years or seven more years," he said, referring to the possibility that he might be re-elected to a second term. At another point, CBS aired tape of a pickup game Obama played during the 2008 presidential campaign, including a missed left-handed layup. That prompted Lundquist to ask Obama if he has problems dribbling to his right. "I went to the Republican House caucus just yesterday to prove that I could go to my right once in a while," Obama joked, referring to a televised session Friday when the president attended a House GOP retreat in Baltimore. The president munched on popcorn and occasionally used his Blackberry. A Columbia University graduate, he revealed no preference for either team, despite sitting among a throng of wildly cheering Georgetown fans, including some who were shirtless, smeared in blue and gray body paint and wearing wigs. After a referee made a call that went against Georgetown, an obscene chant was cut short after one student admonished another, "Dude, the president of the United States is right there (ESPN, 2010). Date: February 5, 2010 Source: Fox 5 San Diego Title/Headline: Little League Champs Meet Obama Abstract: Chula Vista's world champion Park View Little League baseball team toured the White House Friday and met with President Barack Obama. In the official White House photograph, taken by Chuck Kennedy, Park View Little League player, Bulla Graft shakes Obama's hand as Congressman Bob Filner, coach, and team watch. President Barack Obama shook hands with each member of the Park View Little League team in the East Room of the White House. `It was pretty cool,'' outfielder Bradley Roberto told The San Diego Union-Tribune. ``We met the leader of our country'' (Fox 5 San Diego, 2010). Date: February 6, 2010 Source: The Washington Post, Ed O‘Keefe Title/Headline: Half Of Obama's Cabinet Coming Over For The Super Bowl Abstract: Nine Cabinet secretaries and several lawmakers will join President and Mrs. Obama to watch Sunday's Super Bowl, the White House said Friday. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, United Nations Ambassador Susan E. Rice, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki and Agriculture Secretary will join the first couple for the big game. No word if they're bringing their significant others or who's bringing the chips and dip. Reps. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), Rick Boucher (D-Va.), Joseph Cao (R-La.), Andre Carson (D- Ind.), Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind.), Baron Hill (D-Ind.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) are also slated to join the party. Cao, Carson, Ellsworth and Hill hail from Super Bowl states Louisiana and Indiana, home to the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts. Veterans injured in Iraq or Afghanistan and their families will also attend Sunday's party (O‘Keefe, 2010). Date: February 28, 2010 Source: Bloomberg Business Week, Gadi Dechter Title/Headline: Canada Brings Home Hockey Gold, Obama Beer In Overtime Match Abstract: With an overtime goal by Sidney Crosby, the Canadian men’s hockey team brought home the gold medal -- and a case of Molson’s Canadian lager for Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, paid for by Barack Obama. The U.S. president and Harper made a ―friendly wager‖ on the gold medal game today that pitted the North American neighbors in the final event of the Vancouver Olympic Games. If the U.S. had defeated the hometown favorites, Harper would have suffered the added ignominy of having to buy Obama a case of Yuengling beer, with headquarters in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, said White House spokesman Nick Shapiro. Canada beat the U.S. 3-2, earning its eighth hockey gold medal. The game was extended after U.S. player Zach Parise scored in the last 24 seconds of regulation play (Dechter, 2010). Date: March 8, 2010 Source: Mobile Press Register, Gentry Estes Title/Headlines: More On Tide's White House Visit Abstract: Moments after Alabama's football team met with U.S. President Barack Obama in the East Room of the White House, Obama's spokesman Robert Gibbs (an Auburn man) sent out this message by way of Twitter: "As President welcomes Tide to White House, I prefer to remember the other 58 mins of Iron Bowl WDE!" Obama referenced Gibbs' rooting interest during his remarks (which are transcribed below), saying "I've got to tell you, everyone was really excited about this team coming today, except for my Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, because he was born and raised in Auburn. He's hiding in his office right now." Now that's a rivalry, folks ... Anyway, we go back to Twitter for a little response from Tide quarterback Greg McElroy, who commented, "President Obama was much taller than expected. I did get buried in the back because we aligned tallest to shortest. But I did get my handshake" (Estes, 2010). Date: March 17, 2010 Source: Washington Post, Chris Cillizza Title/Headline: President Obama Makes His NCAA Tournament Picks Abstract: Obama, in a clear attempt to get in good with the ole Fix, had a string of kind words for the Georgetown Hoyas. "I think they're getting better," Obama said of the team "[Coach John] Thompson [III] does a good job and I am feeling pretty good about Georgetown making a little run." Us too! Obama picked the Hoyas to lose to Kansas in the Elite Eight with Kansas State, Kentucky and Villanova rounding out the Final Four. His championship game is between Kentucky and Kansas with the Jayhawks emerging as the champions. We did picks of our own -- to slightly less fanfare. Like the president, we picked our beloved Hoyas all the way to the Elige Eight but just couldn't bring ourselves to choose them over Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich and company (Cillizza, 2010). Date: April 6, 2010 Source: Guardian, Adam Gabbatt Title/Headline: Obama's First Pitch Of Baseball Season Abstract: Barack Obama threw the ceremonial first pitch of the baseball season last night, a century after President William Taft started the American tradition. Every president since 1910 has thrown out a baseball on the opening day of the season – with varying degrees of success – and reaction to the current incumbent's latest effort was mixed. On Twitter critiques of Obama's pitch ranged from "pretty sad" and "appalling" to the rather more generous "good job" and "he should stick to basketball". The current US president was applauded as he took to the field at the start of the Washington Nationals' match wearing the home team's jacket, but the plaudits turned to boos as Obama produced and donned a Chicago White Sox cap. Wearing khaki trousers and brown leather brogues, the president grimaced as he lofted his toss some way wide of Nationals' baseman Ryan Zimmerman, requiring him to jump up to take the catch. Speaking afterwards, Obama said he felt there was room for improvement. "I was a little disappointed with the pitch. It was high and outside," he said. "Fortunately, Zimmerman has a tall reach." "If I had a whole inning, I'm telling you, I would have cleaned up," the president added, somewhat optimistically. Obama's wayward technique may have rubbed off on the home side, who were soundly beaten by Philadelphia Phillies 11-1 after having taken a 1-0 lead (Gabbatt, 2010). Date: April 6, 2010 Source: Swamp Politics, Mark Silva Title/Headline: Obama Calls Duke, Challenges Butler Abstract: This isn't Kansas anymore. President Barack Obama, his Final Four bracket busted early in the series, called a couple of coaches today: Coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke University, who led Duke to its fourth victory in the NCAA Men's Division One Basketball championship. And Coach Brad Stevens, whose Butler University team came within a few points of an audacious victory. The president invited Duke's coach and his team to the White House. And Obama told Butler's coach his team "played a great game'' and "showed tremendous heart'' -- and voiced his hope of getting a chance to play with them (Silva, 2010). Date: April 19, 2010 Source: The Telegraph, Toby Harnden Title/Headline: Barack Obama Plays Golf Eight More Times Than George W Bush Abstract: President Barack Obama has played golf 32 times since he took office, eight more than his predecessor George W. Bush - who was mocked by the Left for his fondness for the game - did in his entire presidency. Mr Obama's latest outing on the links came on Sunday, when an opportunity opened up on his schedule after flying bans over most of northern and central Europe forced him to cancel his trip to Krakow to attend the funeral of Lech Kaczynski, the Polish president. Mr Bush was shown in the Michael Moore film Fahrenheit 9/11 condemning "terrorist killers" in the Middle East when asked a question on the golf course in 2002. Barely pausing for breath, he added: "Thank you. Now watch this drive." Mr Bush later gave up golf, saying in a 2008 interview: "I don't want to some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander-in-chief playing golf... And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal." The golfing figures were compiled by Mark Knoller of CBS Radio, the unofficial White House statistician. Mr Obama's Sunday golf game prompted anger in Poland, where the Warsaw Business Post carried a headline reading: "Obama goes golfing instead of attending Kaczynskis' funeral" (Harnden, 2010). Date: April 21, 2010 Source: The Examiner, Clifford Bryan Title/Headline: Michelle Obama Hosts United States Olympic And Paralympic Athletes At The White House Abstract: Prior to the afternoon event with Vancouver Olympians that First Lady Michelle Obama will co-host at the White House with President Obama, Mrs. Obama will highlight physical activity as a critical element of the Let’s Move! initiative with several Olympians and Paralympians Wednesday morning at the DC River Terrace School. She will be joined by 2010 Olympians Shani Davis and Hannah Kearney and 2010 Paralympians Alana Nichols and Heath Calhoun. In addition to promoting the need for kids to get 60 minutes of active play a day, the US Olympians will promote the Olympic philosophy of excellence, friendship and respect. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama together with the White House Office on Olympic, Paralympic and Youth Sport will host members of the United States Olympic and Paralympic teams on the South Portico. The President and First Lady will congratulate Olympians and Paralympians on their performance and thank them for representing the United States during the Vancouver Winter Games. They will also discuss the First Lady‘s Let‘s Move! campaign to solve the childhood obesity epidemic within a generation (Bryans, 2010). Date: April 26, 2010 Source: New York Daily News, Mark Feinsand Title/Headline: President Barack Obama Welcomes World Series Champion New York Yankees To White House Abstract: When President Obama picked up the World Series trophy for a photo opportunity near the end of Monday's ceremony at the White House, Yankees assistant general manager Jean Afterman threw a little Bronx attitude at the longtime White Sox fan. "Let him hold it," Afterman said. "He may not get a chance again." As the crowd in the East Room laughed at the crack, the President answered quickly with a one-liner of his own. "And you wonder why the other teams don't root for you," Obama said with a smile. It was a festive atmosphere as the Yankees were honored for their 2009 title, presenting Obama with a signed No. 27 pinstriped jersey to commemorate the visit. "It's been nine years since your last title - which must have felt like an eternity for Yankees fans," Obama said toward the beginning of his eight-minute address. "I think other teams would be just fine with a spell like that - the Cubs, for example." Obama praised the Yankees for their work on and off the field, citing the charitable efforts of Mark Teixeira and Jorge Posada, the work ethic of Derek Jeter and the HOPE Week initiative the organization began last summer (Feinsand, 2010). Date: May 3, 2010 Source: USA Today Title/Headline: Obama Honors Navy Football, Again Abstract: Presidents engage in many annual ceremonies, such as release of the budget and State of the Union speeches. And, lately, awarding the Commander-in-Chief trophy to the Navy football team. Last season, Navy again beat both Army and Air Force to claim its seventh straight C-in-C trophy as the nation's best service academy team. Seven years -- almost two full presidential terms. "I do have to warn you that I consulted with the White House counsel," Obama told the team at the White House, "and according to the 22nd Amendment, you're only allowed to come back here one more time before it's somebody else's turn." Obama also kidded quarterback Ricky Dobbs for saying he wants to run for president in 2040. "I know people are announcing early these days," Obama said, "but, Ricky, that's a bit much." The team presented the nation's 44th president with a Navy jersey -- number 44 -- as well as a ring commemorating the midshipmen's bowl win over Missouri. "That's a big ring," Obama said (USA Today, 2010). Date: May 17, 2010 Source: The White House Title/Headline: Remarks By The President Honoring the NCAA Champion University Of Connecticut Women's Basketball Team Abstract: THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! Please, have a seat, have a seat. Well, welcome to the White House, everybody. Congratulations to the UConn Huskies on your second straight undefeated season and your second straight NCAA championship. (Applause.) I want to point out this team has not lost a game since I was elected President. (Laughter.) I‘m just saying. (Laughter.) I want to acknowledge a few UConn fans who made the trek from the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue. We've got Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman in the house. (Applause.) And Congressmen John Larson and Joe Courtney are here as well. (Applause.) Now, when this team came to the White House last year, I was just pointing out to Maya, we went out back -- I've got a little court, we shot a little bit. I'm not going to say who won. (Laughter.) But I noticed then there were people who were saying, you know, these Huskies, they‘ve got a little too much swagger, because they said that they‘d be back in 2010. They said that at the time. I'm not sure anybody believed them. I believed them, listening to them, and that confidence was well-deserved (The White House, 2010). Date: May 24, 2010 Source: The Examiner, Cherie Saunders Title/Headline: Marv Albert's Obama Interview To Lead Lakers-Suns Game 4 Abstract: TNT play-by-play announcer Marv Albert conducted a White House interview with President Obama that will premiere Tuesday (May 25) during the network's pre-show for Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. Taped Saturday (May 22) on the White House basketball court, the president discussed his passion for hoops, the Phoenix Suns stand against Arizona's new immigration law and the future of Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, who Obama would love to see in the uniform of his hometown Chicago Bulls. "I don't want to meddle," Obama told Albert. "I will say this: (Derrick) Rose, Joakim Noah it's a pretty good core. You know, you could see LeBron fitting in pretty well there." James's decision whether to leave the Cavaliers once he becomes a free agent this summer is a hot topic in sports media – particularly since his team was knocked out of the playoffs in the second round by the Boston Celtics. "I think that the most important thing for LeBron right now is actually to find a structure where he's got a coach that he respects and is working hard with teammates who care about him and if that's in Cleveland, then he should stay in Cleveland," Obama said. "If he doesn't feel like he can get it there, then someplace else." Obama cited the Bulls' situation in the 90s as an example, stating the team didn't start winning until Jordan had confidence in coach Phil Jackson, Scottie Pippen and the rest of his teammates. Once that happened, Chicago went on to score six NBA championships. "It wasn't until you got that framework around you that you could be a champion," Obama said, according to the AP. "Same thing happened with Kobe (Bryant). You know, I think that, first with Shaq (O'Neal) then later with (Pau) Gasol, you know, he's gotten that sense of a team around him and I think LeBron hasn't quite been able to get that yet. That's what he needs to find." Albert -- a 40-year veteran of sports broadcasting, including 11 with TNT -- said of his time with Obama, "It is clearly one of the highlights of my broadcasting career, and a great honor and privilege for me personally, to interview the President of the United States at the White House and talk NBA basketball with him." Albert is calling TNT's exclusive coverage of the Western Conference Finals alongside analyst Doug Collins. His interview with President Obama will air during Tuesday's "NBA Tip-Off," the network's pre-game show beginning at 8 p.m. ET, prior to TNT's coverage of Game 4 between the Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers at 9 p.m. ET (Saunders, 2010). Date: May 26, 2010 Source: ESPN, Associated Press Title/Headline: Obama: Lakers 'Looking Pretty Good' Abstract: President Barack Obama is projecting a Los Angeles Lakers win in the NBA Finals. Obama told TNT in an interview that he's been surprised by Boston, but believes Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and coach Phil Jackson would be too much for the Celtics. "I've got to go with the Lakers again," Obama said. "I think Gasol may be the best big man in the league right now. He's different from Dwight Howard, but he's [got] unbelievable footwork, speed, savvy, he's playing magnificently. "Kobe is the fiercest competitor in the league and they've got what I continue to believe is the best coach in the NBA right now in Phil Jackson, so they're going to be formidable and I think it'll be a tough series. Boston's a veteran club, but the Lakers are looking pretty good." In the interview that aired Tuesday before Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, Obama also praised the Suns for taking a stand against Arizona's immigration law, said it'd be great if Washington got John Wall with the No. 1 pick, and that ticket prices would be his biggest concern if he was NBA commissioner for a day. "I mean, I think that ticket prices have gotten so high, and I understand that salaries are high, ticket prices are going to be high, but you know, you hate to think that the only person that can go to a game is somebody who's got a corporate account," Obama said. "And that's something that I'd love all professional sports, that's not just NBA, but all professional sports to be thinking about that a little more." The interview was conducted by broadcaster Marv Albert on the White House basketball court. It is available on www.NBA.com and is also being shown on NBA TV (ESPN, 2010). Date: May 27, 2010 Source: ABC News, Sunlen Miller Title/Headline: 'Duke Day' At The White House, Obama Jokes 'You're Going To Try To Bust My Bracket Once Again' Abstract: Payback is sweet, isn’t it, coach?‖ President Obama quipped to Coach K of the Duke Blue Devils, as he honored the team for their NCAA championship win in the Rose Garden today. ―I know that all of you remember last year, when I filled out my bracket I picked North Carolina to win it all. It wasn’t anything personal. Just trying to win some money. I was right. Coach K wasn’t too happy. He basically told me to stick it. Or stick to my day job, is what he said. ―The president joked that Coach K led his team to victory this year just so he could come to the White House to ―crow‖ about it. The president called Duke‘s season and NCAA tournament ―incredible‖ from the start to finish. ―The championship game against Butler --- the most-watched championship game in more than 10 years --- was everything fans hoped it would be. It came down to the final possession. And these guys hung in there and won it all.‖The president’s personal assistant and former Duke basketball player Reggie Love – who almost got as much applause as the president when he walked in the Rose Garden to arrange his boss’ papers on the podium -- got a fair portion of the president’s speech today. ―Reggie was so excited to see his old coach today that I had to make him come out and run some sprint drills -- just to calm him down,‖ Obama laughed, ―I play with Reggie now, and when Reggie was playing, Coach said, ‗don't shoot.‘ And when he‘s on my team, I say to Reggie, ‗don't shoot.‘ So things haven‘t changed that much. Go down in the post, rebound.‖ The president wished the team good luck next season. ―I suspect that you’re going to try to bust my bracket once again. But I may not make the same mistake twice‖ (Miller, 2010). Date: May 27, 2010 Source: USA Soccer Stud Title/Headline: Forget Italy! USA Is “The Best-Dressed Soccer Team,” Says President Obama Abstract: Ranked 14th in the world, the U.S. national team is by no means the favorite to win the World Cup next month. But we just might just be the most handsome, according to U.S. President Barack Obama. ―This may be the best-dressed soccer team I’ve ever seen,‖ President Obama said Thursday, after meeting with the athletic casual team at the White House. ―We’re going to be proud of what you do in South Africa,‖ he added, ―And you will have somebody in the Oval Office watching ESPN to make sure things are going OK.‖ In April, South African officials said President Obama informally committed to attending a U.S. game the team made it to the deeper rounds of the tournament. Both vice president Joe Bidon and former President Bill Clinton said they will attend (USA Soccer Stud, 2010). Date: June 4, 2010 Source: The Examiner, Lisa Van App Title/Headline: President Obama Hosts 2009 MLS Cup Champions Real Salt Lake At The White House Abstract: President Barack Obama hosted Real Salt Lake at the White House on Friday, formally congratulating the 2009 Major League Soccer Cup champions. Obama‘s ceremonial speech in the East Room of the White House drew laughter and applause from players, coaches, and staff members, as he described the team‘s remarkable path to the championship. ―I know that this team had a pretty unlikely journey to get here. You qualified for the playoffs on the last day of the season with a losing record,‖ Obama said. ―That’s cutting it a little close guys. You beat your biggest rival, took down the defending champions on your way to the title game. And with the Cup on the line, you held two of the game’s biggest stars scoreless in regulation and went on to win in a shootout—all of which goes to show that in Major League Soccer, there’s no such thing as a foregone conclusion‖ (App, 2010). Date: June 8, 2010 Source: USA Today Title/Headline: Obama: Baseball May Have To Look At Instant Replay Abstract: President Obama isn't exactly advocating instant replay for baseball, but he does suggest it's something that needs to be looked at. "I think that baseball is going to have to take a look at what football and basketball already decided, which is replay may in some cases be appropriate," Obama said during a wide-ranging interview on NBC's Today show. "I'm not advocating for it ... I'm saying that you may have a take a look at it." Obama was commenting on last week's blown ninth-inning call that cost Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game. Major League Baseball made the right decision in not awarding Galarraga a perfect game after the fact, Obama said. The president also praised Galarraga and umpire Jim Joyce for the way they handled what could have been a very ugly situation: What was wonderful was how a potentially sour story ended up being, for me, an inspiring story. I think the class with which the pitcher handled it, the way Joyce owned up to making a mistake, the way the whole team went out there the next day and said, You know what? We all make mistakes. But you've had a great career as an umpire. I thought that that showed something about sportsmanship that you don't see enough (USA Today, 2010). Date: June 16, 2010 Source: Telegraph Title/Headline: Michelle Obama Joins LA's Elite To Watch Basketball Abstract: Michelle Obama became the latest high profile fan of the LA Lakers as she and her daughters attended the basketball finals match on Wednesday night. Mrs Obama, 46, daughters Malia, 11 and Sasha, 9, and Mrs Obama's mother Marian Robinson, enjoyed Game 6 between the Lakers and arch rivals The Boston Celtics at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Rather than sit courtside like regular attendees Jack Nicholson and Leonardo Di Caprio, the Obamas enjoyed the action from a private box, along with Black Eyed Pease singer Will.i.am. The first lady, whose brother Craig Robinson is the head coach of the Oregon State Beavers basketball team, was presented with a Lakers jersey by a club official, as she watched the team and star player Kobe Bryant overcome the Celtics 89-67. Other celebrities in attendance included Sean 'Diddy' Combs, Transformers star Megan Fox and Peaces Geldof. Christina Aguilera sang the US national anthem (Telegraph, 2010). Date: June 18, 2010 Source: Associated Press, John Krolik Title/Headline: Obama Congratulates Lakers Abstract: The Associated Press is reporting that Phil Jackson was congratulated on his 11th championship by a very satisfied NBA fan yesterday -- President Barack Obama. Obama, a longtime basketball fan, called Jackson from The White House on Friday, congratulating Jackson on the win and telling him that the series was worthy of the rivalry between the Lakers and the Celtics. Obama also told Jackson that he looked forward to congratulating the players in person at the White House. To provide some perspective on just how long Jackson has been on top of the coaching heap, Obama was graduating from law school around the time Jackson won his first championship with Obama's hometown Chicago Bulls (Krolik, 2010). Date: June 23, 2010 Source: The Huffington Post, Robert Ross, Dr. David Washington Title/Headline: President Obama Takes Fitness, Sports And Nutrition To The Next Level Abstract: Taking a bold step forward for public health and well-being, today President Obama announced his "Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition." Now if that doesn't strike you as bold or important, allow us to take you down memory lane for a moment. Remember the old patch you'd get in physical education class back in the day for doing a certain number of push-ups, sit-ups and running a mile in a certain time? Sometimes it felt like you just got it for showing up because the tests seemed so generic and there were one or two kids who couldn't quite finish it but the coach might give them a patch anyways so they didn't feel left out. Well that is what the Council is, as they call it in the sports world and White House circles, and it has just gotten a huge makeover. This makeover represents what change looks like and is reflective of the 21st century. This is a really BIG deal for a number of reasons. For starters, we know the power of role models on our young people in today's world, we know the great reverence given to sports heroes. So for the President to put together a rock star collective of contemporary sports heroes and industry leaders in areas of healthy living, cooking, coaching and nutrition from a diversity of backgrounds, each with an incredible personal story, is tremendously powerful. Co-chairing the Council will be Drew Brees, who is nearly as well known for his endless charity and humanitarian work in post-Katrina New Orleans communities as he is for winning this past season's Super Bowl, and three-time Olympian Dominique Dawes, whose 10-year career on the U.S. national gymnastics team inspired millions of youngsters to go for the gold. With role models like this at the helm, expect big results. And that's where President Obama has taken it to another level: by urging our youth and all Americans to realize that fitness and healthy living requires a holistic approach. We'll need more than one form of intervention to successfully combat the issues of childhood obesity, diabetes and other health problems. This challenge requires a multi-faceted response. We need to not only focus on obesity, but also more broadly on general fitness and nutrition (Ross & Washington, 2010). Date: June 24, 2010 Source: Tribune News, WGN 9 News Title/Headline: Obama Hails U.S. Team On World Cup Win Abstract: President Barack Obama called the U.S. World Cup soccer team Thursday to congratulate it on an "extraordinary victory" this week and to wish the team luck in the next round of the tournament. The U.S. team scored in injury time at the end of the second half Wednesday to beat Algeria 1-0 to advance out of group play. The game was poorly timed for the president, coming as he accepted the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who had served as his top commander in Afghanistan. Obama was meeting with McChrystal's replacement, Gen. David Petraeus, in the Oval Office when he heard staffers in the West Wing erupt in cheers when U.S. midfielder Landon Donovan scored the winning goal. During his call with the team, Obama congratulated Donovan on the goal. He also asked goalkeeper Tim Howard how his ribs were feeling after the injury he suffered in the team's first game, and checked on midfielder Clint Dempsey, who got a split lip in Wednesday's game. Obama told the team the entire country would be cheering when the Americans face Ghana on Saturday (Tribune News, 2010). Date: June 26, 2010 Source: Chicago Sun Times, Lynn Sweet Title/Headline: Obama Pays Off World Cup Bet With Goose Island 312 Beer From Chicago Abstract: President Obama paid off a World Cup bet with British Prime Minister Cameron on Saturday with Goose Island 312 beer from Chicago. Though the U.S.-England game ended up in a tie, both leaders paid off their respective bets. Obama and Cameron mentioned the beers after a joint meeting in Toronto, where they are attending the G-8 and G-20 economic summits. "We are exchanging -- and paying off our debts at the same time -- this is Goose Island 312 beer from my hometown of Chicago," said Obama. Cameron showed off his local brew. "This is Hobgoblin from the Wychwood brew in Witney, in my constituency," he said. Obama said "so I advised him that in America we drink our beer cold. So he has to put this in the refrigerator before he drinks it, but I think he will find it outstanding. And I'm happy to give that a shot, although I will not drink it warm" (Sweet, 2010). Date: July 2, 2010 Source: USA Today, Robert Klemko Title/Headline: Sky Blue FC Honored As WPS Champs By President Obama Abstract: President Obama met and honored Sky Blue FC, 2009 champions of Women's Professional Soccer, in a ceremony Thursday in the East Room of the White House. Sky Blue FC earned the league's inaugural title, and Thursday the team enjoyed a distinction typically reserved for champions of the NFL and NBA — an audience with the president. "This is a pretty exciting time for soccer in America," Obama said. "This team came together when it counted. No matter what obstacles they faced. No matter what disappointment and distractions they had to deal with, they had each other's backs and they stayed focused on the ultimate goal. And that's what teams do." Sky Blue captain and 2010 WPS All-Star Christie Rampone, who took over the team's coaching duties during its championship run, presented Obama with a Sky Blue jersey with the number "09" and "Obama" across the back. "It's great to know that he cares about women's sports," Rampone said. "This recognition is huge for us on the female side. It's the next step for us. The buzz around the country is there's a lot of people supporting and watching the World Cup. Hopefully that can transfer to the women's side" (Klemko, 2010). Date: July 19, 2010 Source: CBS News, Mark Knoller Title/Headline: Obama Honors WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury Abstract: Since taking office, President Obama has held 21 events to honor championship teams in amateur and professional sports. Today in the State Dining Room, he offered congratulations to the 2009 WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury. "I know how much hard work goes into a championship season," said the President in praise of the team. Such presidential events are meant to be light-hearted in words and spirit. At today's reception for the Mercury, some of whose members stood taller in their heels than is Mr. Obama, he thanked them for "setting a wonderful example." "Because I live with 3 tall, good-looking women who are quite competitive and push me around under the boards all the time," said the president of his wife and daughters. The tributes to sports teams are a long-stranding presidential tradition. They are political events designed to endear the politician in the Oval Office to the fans of the teams he honors. The current White House prefers it not be seen that way. "It's an opportunity for the President to celebrate excellence and achievement in our country," said Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton when asked to explain why championship sports teams receive a presidential tribute (Knoller, 2010). Date: July 27, 2010 Source: CBS News, Jaywon Choe Title/Headline: Madden 11 Features Appearance By Obama Abstract: News that President Obama will make a cameo in the latest installment of the popular Madden football games has been feverishly circling through the blogosphere. According to gaming website IGN, players who manage to lead their team to a Super Bowl victory in Madden NFL '11 will be treated to a special video featuring the full fanfare associated with winning the coveted title, including a meeting with the president of the United States. You can see a picture from the video at left featuring last year's champions, the New Orleans Saints, with a virtual Mr. Obama greeting the team on the White House's South Lawn where he poses for pictures along with a custom "Obama" jersey -- much like he has done in real life. The videos and accompanying commentary after the win are tailored to each specific team. This is not the first time Mr. Obama has made an appearance in a video game. During the 2008 presidential campaign, the Obama camp placed an advertisement in the racing game Burnout Paradise reminding players that "Early Voting Has Begun" (Choe, 2010). Date: August 1, 2010 Source: The Washington Times, Associated Press Title/Headline: Obama Attends Mystics Game Abstract: President Barack Obama checked out the WNBA's Washington Mystics on Sunday after spending the morning shooting some hoops himself. Obama, his daughter Sasha and a friend of Sasha's had courtside seats for a women's basketball game between the Mystics and the Tulsa Shock at the Verizon Center in downtown Washington. Sasha and her friend, whom the White House declined to identify, both wore Mystics jerseys. The crowd at the arena roared when the scoreboard showed the president's arrival. Obama chatted during the game with Mystics owner Ted Leonsis and team president Sheila Johnson. Obama and his party left the arena a few minutes before the end of the game, which the Mystics won, 87-62. Earlier Sunday, Obama played basketball against an Army team at Fort McNair in the District of Columbia. Obama has attended basketball games at the Verizon Center before. In January he had front-row seats for a Duke-Georgetown game, and even sat in with CBS' announcers for about seven minutes. Last year, he saw his hometown Chicago Bulls lose a game to the Washington Wizards at the arena (The Washington Times, 2010). Date: August 4, 2010 Source: Long Island Tennis Magazine Title/Headline: USTA Conducts Clinic At White House In Support of Michelle Obama‟s "Let‟s Move!" Initiative Abstract: The USTA has conducted a tennis clinic featuring the QuickStart play format on the White House South Lawn alongside USTA Chairman of the Board and President Lucy S. Garvin, World Team Tennis Washington Kastles Owner Mark Ein, world number 20th-ranked player Sam Querrey, and the doubles team of Bob & Mike Bryan on Tuesday, Aug. 3. The event was part of the South Lawn Series, a summer-long series of events that brings local children, sports leagues and community programs together to the South Lawn in support of First Lady Michelle Obama‘s Let‘s Move! initiative to combat childhood obesity. ―This was a wonderful opportunity to showcase all the benefits of the sport of tennis,‖ said Garvin. ―Tennis is a lifetime sport and can help keep people of all ages active and healthy. The USTA is proud to join the First Lady and her Let’s Move! initiative, and we are thrilled that she recognizes the positive impact that tennis can have on children‖ (Long Island Tennis Magazine, 2010). Date: August 8, 2010 Source: Fox News, Associated Press Title/Headline: It's Hoops For The Troops: Basketball Stars, Obama Play For Wounded Vets Abstract: President Barack Obama pulled together an informal dream team of current and former basketball superstars Sunday. But only a few people got to see it. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and other NBA all-stars joined Obama in Washington to entertain wounded troops. The present-day stars were joined by some retired legends, including Bill Russell and Magic Johnson. College player Maya Moore of the Connecticut Huskies women's team also played. The game was played for a group of "wounded warriors" -- troops injured in action -- and participants in the White House's mentoring program. It took place at a gym inside Washington's Fort McNair, a short drive from the White House. The president was inside the gym for about two hours. The reporters assigned to keep tabs on the president were shut out of the gym, forced to wait in vans outside. Asked why media coverage was blocked, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama "just wanted to play." After the game some of the players joined Obama and a group of his friends for a barbecue at the White House, capping the president's 49th birthday week (Fox News, 2010). Date: August 13, 2010 Source: White House Title/Headline: President Obama To Honor NCAA Champion Student Athletes At The White House Abstract: Next month, President Obama will continue a tradition started by President George W. Bush by honoring championship teams and student athletes from across the NCAA with a reception at the White House. The President will welcome student athletes from dozens of schools and various sports to congratulate them on their accomplishments in the classroom as well as on and off the playing field. In association with this event, various championship teams and players will be recognized for their efforts to give back to their communities, continuing an effort begun by President Obama of sports champions being commended for service as part of a White House visit. More details, including press access information, will be released in the coming weeks. Some of the schools and teams invited to attend the September 13 event include: 1. Augusta State University Men‘s Golf 2. Boston College Men‘s Ice Hockey 3. Duke University Men‘s Lacrosse 4. Fairleigh Dickinson University Women‘s Bowling 5. Oklahoma State University Men‘s Cross Country 6. Pennsylvania State University Women‘s Volleyball 7. Pennsylvania State University Men‘s & Women‘s Fencing 8. Purdue University Women‘s Golf 9. Stanford University Men‘s Volleyball 10. Stanford University Women‘s Tennis 11. Texas A&M University, College Station Men‘s and Women‘s Outdoor Track and Field 12. Texas Christian University Men‘s & Women‘s Rifle 13. University of California, Los Angeles Softball 14. University of California Los Angeles Women‘s Gymnastics 15. University of Denver Men‘s & Women‘s Skiing 16. University of Florida Men‘s Indoor Track and Field 17. University of Florida Women‘s Swimming and Diving 18. University of Iowa Wrestling 19. University of Maryland, College Park Women‘s Lacrosse 20. University of Michigan Men‘s Gymnastics 21. University of Minnesota Duluth Women‘s Ice Hockey 22. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Field Hockey 23. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Women‘s Soccer 24. University of Oregon Women‘s Indoor Track and Field 25. University of South Carolina Baseball 26. University of Southern California Men‘s Tennis 27. University of Southern California Men‘s Water Polo 28. University of Southern California Women‘s Water Polo 29. University of Texas at Austin Men‘s Swimming and Diving 30. University of Virginia Men‘s Soccer 31. University of Virginia Women‘s Rowing 32. Villanova University Women‘s Cross Country 33. Villanova University Football (White House, 2010). Date: September 20, 2010 Source: Pasta Padre, 2K Sports Title/Headline: NBA 2K11 Includes Obama Appearance Abstract: 2K Sports has confirmed that President Barack Obama will be making a virtual appearance in NBA 2K11 (Pasta Padre, 2010). Date: August 9, 2010 Source: NFL, Associated Press Title/Headline: President Obama Welcomes Super Bowl Champs To White House Abstract: The New Orleans Saints marched in to the White House on Monday and received a salute from President Barack Obama for lifting up "the hopes and the dreams of a shattered city" with their Super Bowl victory. Obama welcomed the Saints in an East Room ceremony where he congratulated the players, owner and coaches several months after they beat the Indianapolis Colts, 31-17, for their first-ever football championship. Obama said it was an unbelievable season for the team after decades of frustration. "I'm a Bears fan, I'm not going to lie, but this was a big win for the country -- not just New Orleans," the president said. He noted that after Hurricane Katrina the Saints had to play an entire season on the road because their home stadium, the Superdome, was ruined in the storm. "Back then, people didn't even know if the team was coming back. People didn't even know if the city was coming back," Obama said. "Now, New Orleans and the New Orleans Saints are here to stay." Obama noted that he has to make tough decisions as president. "But I never decided on an onside kick in the second half of the Super Bowl," the president joked, referencing the bold play that helped the Saints clinch their victory. Team members presented Obama with a Saints jersey with the number of his presidency -- 44 -- on the back (NFL, 2010). Date: October 23, 2010 Source: Go Huskies (UW) Title/Headline: 2009 Team Meets President Obama Abstract: Usually when a team wins a national championship they get a trip to the White House to meet the current president, however, in 2009 when the UW softball team won it all, a lot of teams didn't have a chance to make it to D.C. When President Obama visited UW last week, he took some special time out of his visit to meet with the 2009 team and the 2008 women's cross country team (Go Huskies, 2010). Date: November 27, 2010 Source: CBS Sports, Associated Press Title/Headline: Obama Gets 12 Stitches After Errant Elbow To Mouth Abstract: President Barack Obama needed 12 stitches in his upper lip after taking an errant elbow during a pickup basketball game Friday morning with family and friends visiting for the Thanksgiving holiday, the White House said. First word of the injury came in a statement from press secretary Robert Gibbs nearly three hours after the incident. The White House did not initially name the person who caused the injury, but identified him later Friday as Rey Decerega, director of programs for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. Obama received the stitches under local anesthesia in the doctor's office on the ground floor of the White House after returning home. Doctors used a smaller filament than typically used, which increases the number of stitches but makes a tighter stitch and leaves a smaller scar. The president had gone to nearby Fort McNair to indulge in a game of basketball, one of his favorite athletic pursuits. It was a five-on-five contest involving family and friends. Among the players were Obama's nephew, Avery Robinson, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Reggie Love, Obama's personal assistant, who played at Duke University. The White House said the injury happened during their fifth and final game when Decerega turned to take a shot and hit Obama, who was playing defense, in the mouth with his elbow. Obama emerged from the building after about 90 minutes of play, wearing a short-sleeve T-shirt and gym pants, and was seen dabbing at his mouth with what appeared to be a wad of gauze. A few hours later, reporters who had gathered on the White House driveway for the arrival of the Christmas tree saw the president in an upstairs window, pressing an ice pack against his mouth before he stood and walked away. "After being inadvertently hit with an opposing player's elbow in the lip while playing basketball with friends and family, the president received 12 stitches today administered by the White House Medical Unit," Gibbs said. Decerega issued a statement through the White House late Friday. He did not immediately respond to an e-mail request from The Associated Press for independent comment. "I learned today the president is both a tough competitor and a good sport," the statement said. "I enjoyed playing basketball with him this morning. I'm sure he'll be back out on the court again soon‖ (CBS Sports, 2010). Date: December 02, 2010 Source: Fox News Title/Headline: President Peeved By FIFA World Cup Decision Abstract: President Obama said Thursday the world's soccer association got it wrong in awarding Qatar the 2022 World Cup rather than the United States. "I think it was the wrong decision," Obama said as he was caught in passing by reporters while headed out of the Oval Office. The reporters, including Fox News' Wendell Goler, bumped into the president as they were headed into a briefing on unemployment insurance and tax rate negotiations. Obama said he was confident the U.S. team would make it to the finals wherever the contest. FIFA announced earlier in the day that Qatar had beat out the United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea for the 2022 games. Earlier, it awarded Russia the role of host of the 2018 World Cup, beating out England and joint submissions from Spain and Portugal and the Netherlands and Belgium. The United States last hosted soccer's World Cup in 1994. Last year, the president and first lady were not rewarded with the 2016 Olympics games after traveling to Copenhagen. On this occasion, Obama sent Attorney General Eric Holder to Zurich, Switzerland to bid for the quadrennial championship games. Former President Bill Clinton and actor Morgan Freeman joined Holder. According to National Review Online, Obama asked Holder to "make clear that the United States has the capacity to host a World Cup that is both secure and welcoming to the people of the world" (Fox News, 2010). Date: December 27, 2010 Source: CBS News, Kevin Hechtkopf Title/Headline: Obama Lauds Michael Vick's Second Chance Abstract: President Obama has voiced his approval of the second chance Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is getting this season, just a year removed from serving 18 months in federal prison on charges related to a dog fighting ring. Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports reported Monday that Mr. Obama recently called Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie to praise the team for giving Vick a chance. Lurie said Mr. Obama told him that "So many people who serve time never get a fair second chance," King reported on SI.com. Lurie said Mr. Obama was "passionate about it," adding that the president said "it's never a level playing field for prisoners when they get out of jail. And he was happy that we did something on such a national stage that showed our faith in giving someone a second chance after such a major downfall‖ (Hechtkopf, 2010). Date: December 28, 2010 Source: Fox News, Eve Zibel Title/Headline: President Obama Talks Vick But Still Loves His Bears Abstract: President Obama may love his Chicago Bears, but that love didn't stop him from calling Jeffrey Lurie, the owner of the surging Philadelphia Eagles and talking about quarterback Michael Vick. The call, placed by the president to Lurie and reported in Sports Illustrated, was to discuss the use of alternative energy at Lincoln Financial Field, the home of the Eagles, and the host of Tuesday night's football game between the Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings. In the course of the conversation, the president brought up Vick and discussed the second chance quarterback received when the Eagles picked him up after time spent in prison for dog fighting. White House Spokesman Bill Burton told Fox News' Mike Emanuel about the conversation, "He [Obama] of course condemns the crimes that Michael Vick was convicted of but, as he's said previously, he does think that individuals who have paid for their crimes should have an opportunity to contribute to society again." Lurie told Sports Illustrated's Peter King about the conversation saying, "He said, 'So many people who serve time never get a fair second chance. He was ... passionate about it. He said it's never a level playing field for prisoners when they get out of jail. And he was happy that we did something on such a national stage that showed our faith in giving someone a second chance after such a major downfall.'' And Lurie made sure to point out that even if President Obama is known for his basketball skills, he has equal respect for gridiron greats. "He's a real football fan,'' Lurie told King. "He loves his Bears. He really follows it. He knew how Michael was doing. It was really interesting to hear.'' The ASPCA has also sent out a statement regarding Vick. Since Vick's release from prison, he has worked with the Humane Society and traveled around the United States speaking to children about dog fighting and what he says were mistakes he made. The organization says it wants to remind people Vick was convicted for dog fighting and he also participated in the killing of dogs who did not perform well, but the group also agrees with the president when talking about second chances - although with limits(Zibel, 2010). Conclusion: Barry Soetoro aka Barack Obama has met with almost every major sports star and celebrity in America, and when a nuke goes off he will demand their full support. From secret meetings at the White House with LeBron James to LIVE TV appearances and courtside seats, Obama‘s handlers have made sure that every American knows how much Obama loves sports. This is most likely a political ploy aimed at gaining the sports community‘s support when the Super Bowl is nuked. The Powers that Be are betting that the professional athletes will support Obama in a nuclear crisis and are hoping the American people will also fall in line. Don‘t bet on it.
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