Salazar Challenges Obama to Basketball Game
A formal welcoming ceremony and Q&A session Thursday turned into a basketball recruiting session for Interior Sec. Ken Salazar as he met with the rank-and-file at the department's headquarters.
After some opening remarks, the secretary fielded several questions on department policy and the possible revocation of Bush administration decisions. He seemed to dodge a question about the department's decision last month to allow firearms at national parks, which his Senate office called "sensible." He said he learned to shoot a gun at age 3 on his family's Colorado ranch, has defended the Second Amendment, but knew little about the new policy and would have to review it.
Towards the end of the forum, National Park Service employee Wendy O’Sullivan told the secretary and former Colorado attorney general that her brother, a Denver-area attorney, had once played in a basketball league that included Salazar and members of the office of attorney general.
"Are you planning on creating any basketball Interior teams that might go up against the State Department or Energy or maybe even the White House?" O'Sullivan asked.
"You know Wendy, this could be dangerous, since I serve at the pleasure of the president," Salazar replied. "I will say this in public, that we of the Department of the Interior will challenge President Obama and his White House team to a basketball game."
After a round of laughs and applause, he asked, "How many of you want to play?" Several hands shot up in the air.
Interior would face stiff competition from Team White House, which is stocked with the b-ball-playing president, Obama's personal aide Reggie Love, a Duke basketball alumnus and others. (More on Obama and basketball here.)
But Team Interior has plenty of practice facilities at its disposal, as the stewards of the nation's national parks and most of Washington, D.C.'s most popular recreation areas. Today Sec. Salazar is scheduled to visit the Statue of Liberty, one of the most high-profile properties managed by his new department.
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