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"Barack the Red" campaign is a go

Ian Oland is a fan of just about every sports team in the D.C./Baltimore area, and he has nothing against Georgetown. Seriously, he wishes the Hoyas nothing but the best. And even though Barack Obama was supporting a Duke grad during his trip to see the Hoyas, something about that whole deal just rubbed Oland the wrong way.

Because remember, Obama has said he's looking forward to catching a hockey game. He's been given a public and open invitation from Ted Leonsis. He's promised Leonsis to get back to him on that invitation. He's praised Alex Ovechkin during a speech in Russia, and he's told Chuck Todd that he loves hockey.

And yet, the president has now seen three D.C. sporting events without checking in on the city's most successful team. Enough was enough.

"He's kind of treated hockey like the girl you don't want to go to the prom with; you're trying to still be nice while avoiding her," Oland explained. "This is the most exciting hockey team I've ever seen in my life. It just seems like this should happen. It just seems natural. Obama loves sports, he loves being on ESPN, he makes his bracket picks, he throws a football around in the White House. He seems to love every sport except hockey. That just isn't cool."

And so Oland -- a graphic designer who, in his spare time, created the much-loved Matt Wieters Facts, and the increasingly awesome Russian Machine Never Breaks -- figured he needed to launch Barack the Red. He figured he needed to start a Facebook group, aiming for 18,000 members. He figured he needed to solicit Obama-themed hockey artwork. He figured he needed to spend untold hours plotting the above video, and to draft an open letter to the president, like so:

Right around the time President Clinton attended a Caps game, he had eliminated the budget deficit and projected a surplus for the first time in decades. Seeing a game at the phone booth would be a masterstroke of diplomacy as well. Next time you are meeting with Vladmir Putin and there's an awkward silence, you can mention the time you saw Semyon Varlamov stop a puck while performing a triple Salchow. And watching the officials loosely interpret the NHL rulebook might be a great chance to refresh your Constitutional law background.

And along the way, Oland and friends Tim Montenyohl (the video editor) and Peter Hassett (the writer) wound up sinking about 150 hours into the site over the past couple of weeks. Yes, that's more time than you spent on your real job.

So why do it? They wanted to entertain fans, show off some unharnessed creative powers, maybe cause a slight ripple in the fan base, but mostly, they're hoping to catch the attention of someone important who knows someone, who might know someone else, who could tell the president that it's really time. (David Gregory? You listening?) And they want this, because they know it would make Leonsis happy.

"I know how much he wants Obama at a game, and if this can get enough traction to help make it happen, that's like my gift to him," Oland said. "All of us are indebted to him. I haven't seen my girlfriend, I haven't been sleeping, my friends think I'm dead. But if this happens and Ted is happy, that would just tickle me to death."

So go to the site. Join the Facebook group. Sign the petition. It's not about partisan politics. It's about...well, I'm not sure what it's about. Awesome Web sites, anyhow.

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 11, 2010; 9:59 AM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Next: 1920s reporter guy and Alex Ovechkin


It's clear Obama's not at all into hockey. He's just trying to be a politician and be nice about it. His loss. Frankly, I prefer he stay away. It's hard enough to get seats, and security if he showed up would be terrible. Please stay away Obama, I know you don't like hockey and that's perfectly fine with me. Go to a DC United, Wizards, or Mystics game. They probably need the attendance boost.

Posted by: futbolclif | March 11, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Face it, our Wonderful, Gracious, and Peace Loving Dear Leader won't be showing up for a hockey game unless the Blackhawks are in town.

Posted by: CapsNut | March 11, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I'd rather he stayed away, too. Security would be a NIGHTMARE, and frankly, I'd rather watch hockey than deal with that.

Posted by: irockthered | March 11, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Please keep Obama away. Security would be a nightmare and its clear he knows nothing about hockey. RMNB is clearly doing its own publicity stunt. Do not want.

Posted by: JDP_ | March 11, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Go to a DC United, Wizards, or Mystics game. They probably need the attendance boost.

Posted by: futbolclif | March 11, 2010 10:03 AM

Way to swing your purse at that one!

Posted by: Kev29 | March 11, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Nothing wrong with a man liking some sports more than others. I do, we all do. But what should not be tolerated is the notion that we should ever again elect a Cowboys fan to office, look what happened when we did that in 2000.

Posted by: alex35332 | March 11, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately CapsNut is probably right, we'll have to wait for the Blackhawks....hey, maybe this year's Cup final?

I think it would be neat to happen, but I'd rather he govern right if if push comes to shove.

Posted by: EricS2 | March 11, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Obama should keep his butt in the White House. Caps fans should not be subjected to all the nonsense that goes on when he goes to a game.

Posted by: poguesmahone | March 11, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry but if you really care this much about Obama attending a caps game, you may need to get a life

Posted by: Barno1 | March 11, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I went to that Gtown Duke game he decided to go to. It was great waiting outside for 45 minutes in the snow and getting to my seats with 6 minutes left in the first half. That'd be a dream if I could experience that all over again.

Posted by: RickFelt | March 11, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

The Capitals are a winning organization, no need to bring the lose narcissist in chief to a game.

Posted by: ajian1 | March 11, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

The people who don't want Obama at the game didn't vote for him and don't care for him too much.

Simple as that.

Posted by: RedDMV | March 11, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Don't care what he does (regarding hockey), as long as he has enough self-respect to not become a transparent Hawks bandwagoner if they acheive some measure of success.

And if there's a Caps-Hawks final and he suddenly has an opinion, you gotta go D.C., dude

Posted by: JohnnyBlades | March 11, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Put Obama in your story and watch the comments go full-batsh*t

Posted by: Kev29 | March 11, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I like the idea of getting El Presidente hooked on the Caps, but I think this initative is doomed to failure due to poor branding... Obama is currently being labeled a socialist by some on the fringes of the political spectrum. Unfortunately, red is the preferred color of the socialist / communist movement (see flags of China, former Soviet Union, McCarthyism and the Red Scare, etc). Thus, the political backlash of Obama rocking the red could be devastating. How about a new slogan... perhaps, Obama for OV, or, "I'm Baracking the Red but My Red Attire Does NOT Signify an Endorsement of Socialism or Communism." Or something similar.

Posted by: spf130 | March 11, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry but if you really care this much about Obama attending a caps game, you may need to get a life

Posted by: Barno1 | March 11, 2010 11:16 AM

Take it from an expert folks!

Posted by: mack1 | March 11, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Sorry folks but you need to get a life if Obama coming to a caps game gets your panties up your crack. If he came to the game how would that affect you personally? Its not like all of you have seats next to his. Really, get a life. Or just be honest and say I dont like the guy instead of trying to make up shiiit to avoid saying it.

Posted by: ged0386 | March 11, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Lots of republican caps fans I see.

Posted by: ged0386 | March 11, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I bet all of you complaining would have no problem with president Bush attending a caps game.

Posted by: ged0386 | March 11, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

The Pres can stay away from the Caps games - I'd rather not deal with the USSS while getting to my seat. Additionally, I'd much rather see the faces of the Caps players on the video board than of the Pres schmoozing at an event we all know he'd rather not be at! Let's go Caps. And when the Cup comes to town - don't accept the Champs invite to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave - that will send a clear message!

Posted by: TerpGrad | March 11, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Every candidate he supports loses. Please go attend a Penguins game instead.

Doesn't "Barack the Red" make him sound like some sort of commie? well... err... eh...ahem......

Posted by: Pius5 | March 12, 2010 6:27 AM | Report abuse

Tacking a presidential motorcade onto the Caps bandwagon = low prioridad.

Posted by: redlineblue | March 12, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

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