Obama courtside for Georgetown vs. Duke
By Krissah Thompson
On a snowy Saturday, President Obama got out of the White House to check out two top-ranked basket ball teams. He was among the sellout crowd watching Georgetown take on Duke.
Georgetown's ranked No. 7. Duke's No. 8.
There was no telling who Obama was rooting for. His personal assistant Reggie Love played for Duke. But, there are also Georgetown alumni on the White House staff. Communications director Dan Pfeiffer is a 1998 grad.
Obama attended the game with Vice President Biden, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, press secretary Robert Gibbs, Deputy Chief of Staff Mona Sutphen and senior adviser David Axelrod. They sat only feet from the court. Love was elsewhere in the stands cheering for Duke.
After half-time, Obama joined CBS commentators Clark Kellogg and Verne Lundquist for a few minutes of sports banter and color commentary. It's well known that the president is a big basketball fan, but he told the announcers that "unfortunately" he rarely gets to watch a full game and stays connected to the scores on ESPN Sports Center. He said he tries to watch every final four game.
Asked about the play between Georgetown and Duke -- Georgetown led at the half -- Obama said he was, "impressed by the guards for Georgetown. They're big strong guys. They've been a little sloppy in the second half and Duke is picking up its 'D'."
Then, he took the mic to "channel his inner Clark Kellogg" and call a play. "This was a terrific spin move and he didn't get any help coming back," Obama said describing a player running down the court, jumping up right as he approached the basket and throwing the ball up.
Obama and Kellogg, who played ball against Obama's brother-in-law Craig Robinson in college, went back-and-forth a little about their rivalry. Then the president challenged Kellogg himself, but not on the court. Both men acknowledge that at their ages their knees are "creaky."
"After retirement I'm coming after your job Clark," Obama said, laughing. "You either have three more years or seven. I'm not sure which, but you need to plan accordingly. I'm going to do some play by play."
Lundquist ended the interview with a little political jostling. "You're obviously a left-hander, but do you have any problems going to your right?"
Obama had a quick comeback: "I have no problem going to my right. I met with the Republican caucus yesterday, but there's no doubt I have a stronger left hand."
Before returning to his seat, Obama people's thoughts should be with the troops in the field and those serving in Haiti. Obama took off with 1:15 to go. Georgetown led 87-70.
It's the second college game that Obama's attended this season. On Nov. 28 he and his family watched Robinson's Oregon State team play George Washington.
January 30, 2010; 2:09 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency , Barack Obama
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