First, President Barack Obama weighed in on the Boston Red Sox trade of infielder Kevin Youkilis to his beloved Chicago White Sox, thanking Bostonians during a fund-raiser Monday night.
This prompted fans to either boooo or Yoooooouk him. (You decide: Video after the jump; more details here.) Then the press secretaries got involved.
Andrea Saul from Mitt Romney’s camp wrote in a daily email blast (via the Associated Press): “Maybe the president should have congratulated the team for winning the World Series in 2004 and 2007. Instead, he chose to mock them for trading away one of its favorite players at a time when the team is struggling.”
(Technically, things are going much better for the Red Sox these days. They have a 38-35 record and have won seven of their last 10 games.)
Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney, sounded off on the matter at the end of his daily press briefing aboard Air Force One.
Carney: “Can I just say while I still have you that there’s been some really silly reporting about the President’s remarks regarding Kevin Youkilis last night. It is highly commendable in my view as a Red Sox fan that this President has always refused to pander on sports. He is a White Sox fan. He owns his fandom of the White Sox, and proved that again last night.
“And anyone who knows Boston and knows the Red Sox, and who was in that room, knows that the preponderance of people shouting in response to what the President said about Kevin Youkilis were saying ‘Youk,’ not ‘Booo,’ for God’s sake.
“I'll remind you, there was a time in 2007, when Alan Solomont had urged the President to wear a Boston Red Sox cap when he went out to Fenway and he refused to do it, and even mentioned it, because he is a White Sox fan.
“I don't think the American people appreciate it when politicians suddenly pretend they're fans of another team just to try to curry favor. The President is very serious about his sports. He will not do that. He will not cross that line.”
Reporter: “-- was just done too soon, that the Boston fans were just sad to see Youkilis go?”
Carney: “I'm a fan --”
Reporter: “I'm a Red Sox fan as well, Jay – is all I’m saying.”
Carney: “I am very sad to see Youkilis go. He has a fond place in my heart for all he contributed to two World Series teams.”
Reporter: “There was some friendly booing in there.”
Carney: “No, I'm not saying it wasn't. People in Boston, I think, were sad to see Kevin Youkilis go. But the President is not going to pretend he is not a White Sox fan. And if Kevin Youkilis helps the White Sox this year, I'm sure he will circle back to the subject.
“Anything else? Youk is Y-O-U-K.”
The White House notes that members of the press laughed. Probably even the Red Sox fans.
Earlier today: Were they saying “boo” or “Yoooouk?”