Team Spirit at the White House
Always a tough call at Super Bowl parties: Watch the game? Or jaw with other guests? And what if your host is the president?
"It was kind of strange for us," Rep. Mike Doyle said yesterday. The Democrat from Pittsburgh brought his wife, daughter and nephew to the White House on Sunday. "We had our Terrible Towels and Steelers gear on. This was serious business. We were there to watch the game and cheer for the Steelers. But we were trying to be polite."
The bipartisan party for 75 people was the debut of President and Mrs. Obama as hosts. Guests included members of Congress from Pennsylvania (Arlen Specter, Bob Casey, Charlie Dent, Patrick Murphy) and Arizona (Trent Franks, Raul Grijalva but no John McCain), lots of friends, as well as Malia, Sasha and plenty of little kids who watched movies or played Wii while their parents watched the big screen in the White House movie theater or on TVs in the hallway.
The First Fan broke the neutrality ban, openly rooted for Pittsburgh and spent most of the night keenly following the action. When Steelers linebacker James Harrison lumbered 100 yards for a touchdown just before halftime, the president leaped from his chair and said, "What do think of that, Doyle?"
"That's what I'm talking about!" replied the congressman.
The menu? Pizza, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, chips and dip, sundae bar, cookies, beer and soda. At one point, the president walked around offering a cookie platter. Everyone watched the (other) Boss and the commercials. And just like at any other Super Bowl party (except this house has more rooms): A child wandered over to the host and asked, "Where's the bathroom?" The president grinned and told him, "I've only been here 10 days. Ask someone in the hall."
After the game, Obama called Steelers owner Dan Rooney (who gave the president a shout-out at the trophy presentation), head coach Mike Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger -- and invited the team to the White House in a couple of months.
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