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Could Barack Obama Become the Next Dick Nixon?

Bowlers of America who were turned off by Barack Obama's infamous gutter ball and humiliating 37 score on the campaign trail last summer are now lobbying the president-elect to embrace the sport and rekindle Richard Nixon's White House tradition.

Richard Nixon
President Richard M. Nixon, bowling at the White House, July 20, 1970. (Photo -- The Associated Press)

A coalition of bowling associations is offering to pay to refurbish the single bowling lane Nixon had installed in the basement of the White House, a PR stunt unlikely to see the light of day if Obama continues eschewing assistance from lobbyists.

"Our goal is to provide the President-Elect and his family with the modern day bowling experience. We're focused on completely refurbishing the White House Lane -- no pin will be left behind," says Jim Sturm, president of the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America.

The bowling industry executives are convinced that Obama has committed to keeping the White House bowling lane, despite his joking threat last summer to replace the lane with a basketball court if he won the presidency.

"The bowling industry applauds President-Elect Obama for keeping the White House Lane. As a gesture of support and appreciation, we are offering to give the lane a much-needed enhancement and add in all the great amenities that have helped to fuel the continued popularity of bowling and maintain its status as the nation's number one participatory sport and a great American family activity," says Jeff Boje, president of the United States Bowling Congress.

In June, after his gutter ball embarrassment on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania, Obama told late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel that he would entertain replacing President Nixon's famed bowling alley with a basketball court. "I hear there's a bowling alley and obviously that didn't go too well so we're going to put in a basketball court," Obama joked.

(Click to here to see Obama bowling straight down the gutter at Pleasant Valley Lanes in Altoona, an image that came to symbolize his loss in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary.)

Obama later hinted in an interview with Barbara Walters that he would keep the historic bowling lane.

According to Lonnie Hovey, the White House director of preservation, Nixon "enjoyed bowling so much, a single lane alley was installed at the White House in 1970 as a gift from his close friends." The original bowling alley was a gift to President Truman and was moved from the basement of the West Wing to the basement of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building in 1955.

"After four decades, it's fair to say that the lane at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is long overdue for a facelift," Boje says.

Below is a photo of the modern day presidential bowling lane that the band of organizations, which includes the Professional Bowlers' Association, proposes building for the Obama White House. They say it would include "cutting-edge bowling balls, a top-of-the-line high definition scoring system and light display, a digital stereo sound system, club seating, Bowlopolis kids digital graphics, and modern electronic bumpers (perfect to help both the President-Elect and his children adopt proper bowling technique)."

As you might imagine, Obama was a bit preoccupied with other things this week so his press shop has yet to weigh in on what the president-elect thinks of the design.



Photo courtesy of Qubica/AMF

By Mary Ann Akers  |  December 12, 2008; 1:10 PM ET
 
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Comments

Maryanne, you seem to be making a career at the Washington Post writing about nonsense, fluff, irrelevant and silly non-issues. I think it's demeaning to women, frankly.

Whose idea was it to have a gossip columnist among the political stories?

The Washington Post shows terribly poor judgment spending shrinking and scarce journalist salary dollars this way.

Posted by: socialist2 | December 12, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Nice post. And in a further bit of bowling trivia, Hubert Humphrey did a 30 minute film that was televised just prior to the 1968 election. Part of it showed him and Ed Muskie bowling together at the EOB lanes (2, if I remember).

Posted by: Engineer3 | December 12, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

What a disgusting and insulting title! It implies Obama will become a crook and will try to usurp the Constitution, which could not be further than the truth.

Of course Obama will never be the next Nixon not only because he is not a crook, but because Dubya/dick already hold that title!

If anything, Obama could become the next FDR. But we knew that, and so far with his performance as President Elect, he has a very good head start in that direction!

Posted by: kevinschmidt | December 12, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

"The bowling industry applauds President-Elect Obama for keeping the White House Lane. As a gesture of support and appreciation, we are offering to give the lane a much-needed enhancement and add in all the great amenities that have helped to fuel the continued popularity of bowling and maintain its status as the nation's number one participatory sport and a great American family activity," says Jeff Boje, president of the United States Bowling Congress.
*****

That would be the beer and nachos with cheese?

Posted by: j2hess | December 12, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

www.need4trth.blogspot.com

Is that not the most pathetic statement. Is Obama Nixon. You should be ashamed of yourself for writing such trash. That title is worthy of a rag. Not the Washington post. Perhaps, the Globe or the national Examiner. How disgusting of you

Posted by: need4trth | December 12, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm kind of embarrased for you and the paper after reading this piece. Is this really the kind of news you want to be pursuing?

"Akers has a strong news background in both print and broadcast. She was a reporter for National Public Radio covering everything from politics and Congress to transportation. She covered several commercial plane crash investigations and the government's response to the 9/11 attacks."

Posted by: Fyemaster | December 12, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

is this really news? come on. are you nothing more than a republican dingbat?

Posted by: need4trth | December 12, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

I hope that the precious defenders of Barack Obama's good name will take a holiday after the inauguration when he might have to do something tough. Do you guy's really think it matters? When times are tough aren't we allowed a joke? Still, I don't expect a sense of humour from anyone calling himself socialist2 - who should be belly laughing as the US nationalises everything that might fall over - about half the economy.

Posted by: pwrighter | December 13, 2008 5:56 AM | Report abuse

I love the sleuth, actually, in contrast to those people who don't think these posts are important - politicians live and die by the catchy quirks that average voters find interesting. Most people can't even name their congressman, until they get caught up in some sort of scandal. I think this column is completely necessary to really report political news.

Posted by: pestest | December 13, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Bank of America and Mr. Higgins missing $millions, It can happen to you, my fellow Americans


More info: http://mrhigginsbank.blogspot.com/

Posted by: srmaxhiggins | December 13, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

More fun than the column are the close-minded comments from the Bush-haters and the Saint Barrack supporters.
Approaching life with an open mind is much more fun than pushing hate as a core value, it even allows you to laugh now and then.

Posted by: johne37179 | December 14, 2008 6:52 AM | Report abuse

Bank of America and Mr. Higgins missing $millions, It can happen to you, my fellow Americans


More info: http://mrhigginsbank.blogspot.com/

Posted by: srmaxhiggins | December 14, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

I HAVE TO AGREE WITH THOSE THAT FEEL THIS ARTICLE'S TITLE WAS MISLEADING AND A WASTE OF TIME FOR READERS. TOO MUCH IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW TO WASTE TIME AND SPACE ON TRIVIA.

Posted by: thevoodoodoll | December 15, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

So many of you folks need to get a life. Everyone has become so critical of everything. No wonder it is nearly impossible to make any progress. Lighten up. If you don't like the article, click it closed and move on.

Posted by: RichJ-NewJersey | December 15, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

A disgusting and misleading headline for a silly, unnecessary article!

Posted by: louise2001 | December 15, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: tncdel | December 15, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I can't imagine what the Post was thinking of with that very misleading headline that was given to this story. Nixon resigned in disgrace, I hope that is not being predicted for Obama. A lot of Americans enjoy bowling, the story was very misleading. I hope Obama has a basketball court installed instead, he enjoys that and it will give him away to relaz after running the country and besides it is good exercise.

Posted by: Joyce1 | December 15, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Give me a break don't we have better things to think of writing. The world is falling apart.

Posted by: pvintran | December 15, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Mary Ann,

Don't let the sourpusses get you down. I thought the article was fun. Lighten up, everyone! Get in the holiday spirit! Happy Holidays--any holiday you celebrate!

Posted by: wilddove | December 15, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I hear Obama likes jelly beans too. I guess we should say hello to a return of Reaganomics. This is a stupid column.

Posted by: rockbandsinc | December 15, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

This is a GREAT piece. Just because all the libs who dropped their balls during the campaign don't like BO throwing his down the alley does not give them reason to object.
Wait until he does something and then you will have reason to get yours in an uproar.

Posted by: jwoods2 | December 15, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Relax, people. It's a cute story.

Posted by: org1 | December 15, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

funny article. if this design becomes reality i will regret ever having voted for Obama. especially in a recession, but not to mention the complete trampling of historic preservation methods this design entails.

Posted by: crodriguez30 | December 15, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I will just say I am not a bowler. But you must admit. That isone cool looking bowling alley. IIf it'ss on the up'n and up'n. No strings. I'd definitely let the Bowling association build an pay for that alley if they want too.

Posted by: tjirish34 | December 15, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I happen to think that all of you who complained about this article being a waste of (your) time have wasted MY time by making me read your whiney postings.

...so now i guess I have wasted yours back so we are even......

Posted by: biggerjake | December 15, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Literally, another Nixon? No, not if he plans to be the first African American president and not the only one. Lots of mud was generated this election over his skin tone. Bush kinda pales Nixon signifigantly because Nixon was an afterthought to Vietnam. He didn't create a war on false premise and say " so what". Metaphorically, I hope the new president keeps an eye out for air hockey. Basketball is still trendy. Its going to be the next Summer Olympic sport. I can can practically guarantee a gold if its added. Hell of a lot more fun than ping pong.
PS I resent the upsurd comment about the author defaming feminism over trivia. We were doomed to lose this occupation because the Pentagon couldn't even get one bureaucrat to put a missile defense battery on the WH and Pentagon Lawns. Americans , are you really that naive and arogant to think that these couldn't be targets??? They had 24 hrs to prepare and decided Washington DC was safe?! Check the 9/11 report. Trivia how our top brass are pretty low on IQ Ore. Do you feel protected?

Posted by: lucy-fir | December 16, 2008 3:34 AM | Report abuse


DON'T WORRY ABOUT NAYSAYERS. MARY ANN , AT LEAST YOU'RE DOING YOUR JOB......THE REST OF THE MEDIA ....?

THESE PEOPLE THAT WAIT BREATHLESSLY TO HEAR THE NEXT WORD ON THEIR MESSIAH WILL HAVE PLENTY OF FODDER ON HIM FOR THE NEXT 4 YRS UNLESS WE'RE LUCKY AND HE GETS IMPEACHED.....

WAIT TIL YOU SEE HIS 'POKER GROUP' IN ACTION....A NEW WHITE HOUSE WILL HAVE TO BE BUILT TO GET RID OF THE CIGAR SMOKE...

THE NEXT BIG EXPENSE TO COME UP WILL BE MICHELLE 'REDOIN' THE WHITE HOUSE TO HER TASTE....I'VE STARTED SAVING PICTURES LIKE CHICAGO'S TRAIN STATIONS FOR HER TO PAINT ON THE WALLS.....AND ANYBODY THAT WANTS TO DONATE CANS OF SPRAY PAINT I'M SURE SHE'LL APPRECIATE IT..... ONLY THE MOST EXPENSIVE ONES,THO....THEY DON'T WANT ANY CHEAP STUFF.....

Posted by: myworld | December 16, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I think you'll be seeing a half court installed after Obama rips out the bowling alley. Too bad Obama is an antigunner rather than following in the American shooting tradition of his hero Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt who had ranges at the White House. I'm sure the NRA would be more than willing to work with him to install a rifle/pistol range in place of the bowling alley. Then he and Biden could shoot semiauto AR-15s and semiauto pistols in the finest American tradition.

Posted by: lorddunsmore | December 16, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Please Maryanne! Don't compare Obama to Nixon cause from the cheap seats it looks to me like they only thing they have in common is two daughters. Myworld, three words for you Pal . . . Start Likin' It!

Posted by: FrankAdair | December 16, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

That is one bada$$ bowling alley!!! I hope that Obama goes for it - what fun for the girls as they become teenagers to have friends over to bowl on Saturday night in their own bowling alley, then catch a movie in their own theater! America needs a little light-weight news and fun after all the economic atom bombs.

Posted by: annieb346 | December 16, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Great article Mary Ann. I hope bowling isn't the only way PE Obama is like Nixon. Leading our country out of this shameful war as Nixon did for us during Vietnam will be another way Obama will be like Dick.
As far as FDR (and Clinton for that matter) I hope PE Obama has greater moral fidelity. Keep writing and encouraging the lighter side of politico.

Posted by: wyattpittman | December 16, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

This might qualify for the biggest non-story regarding our new president yet. Which I find as a good sign - if this is the best the gossip columnist can come up with. As a side note, it's the 21st century and I think a basketball court would be just the ticket. Most of the new team can move a bit faster than the average bowler, I would wager. In fact, in this horrendous state of the world, they need to!

Posted by: jennyquatro | December 16, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Take a deep breath folks! Yes, the headline was to get your attention- it got mine. But when I read the story it made me smile. And no, I am not a bowler but I did work in a bowling alley once! I even dated a professional bowler (once)! It would be nice for the White House to have a good bowling alley for the kids and their friends. It would stay when the Obama's leave it in 8 years so the next president and her family could enjoy it too. Unless the bowling associations are after something? Making bowling mandatory to graduate high school or something? :)

Posted by: alaskan2 | December 16, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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