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Obama at a Caps game? Barack the Red dreams on.

After the Winter Olympics proved President Obama was willing to stake a claim on a hockey team, can attendance at a Caps game be far behind?

The founders of the new Web site Barack the Red certainly hope so. The site, launched Thursday by the group of Washington Capitals fans behind the site Russian Machine Never Breaks -- the name comes from a phrase uttered by an injured Alex Ovechkin some years ago -- has just one mission: to get the president of these United States to root for the red at Verizon Center this season.

On Friday, an intrepid reporter did a favor for Caps fans around the region and asked the White House about the site's open letter to Obama. A transcript of his exchange with White House press secretary Robert Gibbs follows:

Q One more question while you have the U.S.A. sweater on there. I draw your attention to a Web site that's posted a letter to "Barack the Red" -- not what you think it means.

GIBBS: Do I need to get my Canadian jersey back?

Q No. (Laughter.) They write, "These are trying times. Unemployment is in double digits. ... Audacity? Check out number eight, Alexander Ovechkin. Hope? This season has found the Capitals with better postseason prospects than any other year." They plaintively write at the end here, "The Capitals bandwagon is filling up quickly, but we need a leader." (Laughter.) Will the president commit to going to a Washington Capitals game this season?

GIBBS: I can't say --

Q It would be his first hockey game ever, right?

GIBBS: I can't say -- no, I think he's been to -- I'll check and see if he's been to a game in Chicago or not -- less so in Hawaii. I will check on whether he's been to a game before. I don't know whether he'll do that before March 18th, but --

Q He's got a couple extra days now. (Laughter.)

GIBBS: Come on, guys. It's Friday, for God's sakes. (Laughter.)

Look, I think he would very much enjoy going. Obviously the last time he ventured out to a sporting event, Georgetown looked like they did yesterday, not like they did in the previous several weeks. So, look, I know he enjoys going out there. I know that -- I think we've gotten invitations from the owner to go. And I know he'd be -- he can borrow my jersey.

For more on the team behind Barack the Red, see Dan Steinberg's D.C. Sports Bog coverage.

By Garance Franke-Ruta  |  March 12, 2010; 6:24 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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