Fresh off his State of the Union, the President goes into the heart of enemy territory. Not a red state or a blue state, but a Green state. Better yet, right into the heart of Packerland. The locals tell it best:
The president arrived ahead of schedule at about 10:15 a.m. at Austin Straubel International Airport in Ashwaubenon.There's some serious political reasons for the stop; WI-08 is one of those districts that flipped blue to red last fall. (But don't you DARE call Wisconsin a purple state, at least not until after the annual Favre retirement press conference.)
Obama was greeted at the airport by Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt. The local officials each presented Packers jerseys to the president, who the White House called the "First Bears Fan" in its report.
Walker gave the president a jersey that had an Obama 1 on the back and the mayor presented Obama with a Woodson jersey to the grinning president.
The Obama 1 jersey was autographed by Packers cornerback Charles Woodson. Also on the jersey, Woodson wrote "See you at the White House ... Go Packers!"
Obama had indicated before the game that he would travel to Texas for the Super Bowl next month to watch the game if the Bears beat the Packers last Sunday. The Packers, however, won 21-14.
Following the game, Woodson was captured on Packer's video delivering a pep talk to his teammates. "The president don't want to come watch us win the Super Bowl?" he said. "Guess what? We'll go see him."
"They're rubbing it in," he yelled to the pool reporters as he held out the Obama shirt...
The president's press secretary, Robert Gibbs, told the pool reporter, "We're going to need another plane to take back all the Packer paraphernalia we're going to get today."
Still, the references were unavoidable:
Obama, a Bears fan, told the audience that he has not "come to Packer Country because I lost a bet. Sunday was a tough day to be a Bears fan.But notice he's not wearing the jersey. As Politico noted once:
"But even if it didn’t go the way I wanted, I’m glad we got to see one of the greatest rivalries in sports go another round. And so, in the spirit of sportsmanship, let me just say this: congratulations, and good luck in the Super Bowl."
"Last night, I gave a speech some of you may have seen. And what I said was, in this new and challenging time, when America is facing tougher competition from countries around the world than ever before, we’re going to need to up our game. We’re going to need to go all in. We’re going to need to get serious about winning the future.
"In the words of the man the Super Bowl trophy is named after: 'There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game, and that’s first place.'
As White House senior adviser David Axelrod puts it, the president dislikes it when “folks try to get him to wear baseball gear for teams other than the White Sox.”One must assume that goes double true for football arch rivals.