Another major sporting event is upon us, and you know what that means: another pre-game interview with Pres. Barack Obama. Obama is no JFK, to be sure, yet no president has gone to such lengths to try to construct an image of athleticism or physical vigor since the days of Camelot. But at least President Kennedy, although actually suffering from poor health, could throw a football. Here is President Obama attempting to throw a baseball (skeptic that I am, I’d like to see such unedited footage of President Obama’s dribbling skills on the hardwood), in comparison with President Bush’s efforts:
And here’s some helpful analysis.
U.S. presidents have a long history of genuine athletic excellence. Focusing just on those who served within the past half-century or so, President Eisenhower played football for Army (once suiting up against Jim Thorpe’s and Pop Warner’s storied Carlisle Indians); President Kennedy swam for Harvard; President Ford was the most valuable player for the Michigan Wolverines’ football team; President Reagan reportedly pulled 77 people from the swift currents of Illinois’s Rock River as a lifeguard, played football and swam at Eureka College, and was an avid horseman; and Pres. George H. W. Bush was the captain of a Yale baseball team that was the national runner-up..
Meanwhile, as Sports Illustrated reports, President Obama played on his Hawaiian high school basketball team’s “second varsity” (hint: There wouldn’t have been a “second varsity” if there hadn’t also been a varsity) as a junior, before spending his senior season on the varsity and “largely on the bench.” As a senior, SI writes, “Obama led a delegation of pine-riders to [Coach Chris] McLachlin’s office to make the case on their behalf for more playing time. ‘I reminded him it wasn’t about him, it was about the team,’ McLachlin says.”
This is the third-straight year that President Obama will have been interviewed during the Super Bowl broadcast. Matt Lauer interviewed him in 2009, Katie Couric interviewed him in 2010, and Bill O’Reilly will interview him this time around. At least the halftime entertainment changes every year.