Obama Addresses America’s Urgent Ref Problem

by Katrina Trinko

President Obama didn’t feel he had enough time to meet with any world leaders during his trip to the U.N. today, but he did make time for The View — and to talk to the Des Moines Register about the football referee call last night (which my guy colleagues have informed me is a big deal):


NFL football owners need to settle their contract dispute and “get the permanent refs back,” Obama told The Des Moines Register in a telephone interview from the White House this afternoon.

“And I say this as a Bears fan, who obviously is never heartbroken when Packers lose, but it’s not this just this game,” Obama said. “We’ve seen that over the last several months. We need to go ahead and get this resolved and I think that is a bipartisan position.”

Bipartisan position? Since when does football have any relationship to politics at all, much less Democrat or Republican policy preferences?

Obama, who spoke in New York earlier today to the United Nations General Assembly and to the Clinton Global Initiative, said he didn’t watch the whole game.

“I was busy,” he said. “I saw the ending.”

He said he doesn’t blame the replacement refs.

“They’ve been put in a tough situation,” the president said. “But the fact is this is a fast, tough game to control. And it doesn’t make sense to me for a league that’s been so successful not to want to put their very best out there.”

The New York Times reported yesterday that Obama was making more time for campaigning than for building relationships with international leaders: “But a campaign adviser acknowledged privately that in this election year, campaigning trumped meetings with world leaders. ‘Look, if he met with one leader, he would have to meet with 10,’ the aide said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.”

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