President Obama visited with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie during the lead-up to Super Bowl XLIX and we learned a few new things about the prez.
For instance, his White House is making beer, he still prefers hoops to football and he was stunned to learn that each NFL team controls its own game footballs. Guthrie and Obama chatted in the White House kitchen, amid vats, bottles and glasses of beer and Obama boasted that he’s the “first president since George Washington to make some booze in the White House.”
It was a boozy and breezy interview, with a fuller and more serious “Today” sitdown following later with Guthrie. Obama declined to pick a team to root for, what with his beloved Chicago Bears long ago dispatched to America’s golf courses.
“Since my Bears are not in it, I think it’s only wise for me not to choose a team because then I just alienate one big city, but I will say it’s going to be close and the question I have is whether Seattle’s secondary is healthy enough,” he said. “That’s the heart and soul of their team and they’ve got three guys back there who are hurt. I don’t know how that’s going to affect the game.”
Naturally, he was asked for his take on Deflategate, the NFL’s investigation into whether the Patriots deliberately deflated footballs during the AFC championship game.
“Here’s what I know. The Patriots were going to beat the Colts regardless of what the footballs looked like. The one thing I did not realize and I’ll bet most fans didn’t is that each team prepares its own footballs and brings ’em to the game. I don’t think there’s any other sport like that, so I’m assuming one of the things the NFL’s going to be doing, just to avoid any of these controversies, is figuring out how the officials are in charge of the footballs from start to finish.”
Is, Obama was asked, it cheating? “If you break the rules, you break the rules.”
He talked politics and his relationship with Congress and Guthrie asked what he hoped to see in his administration’s fourth quarter. “What I’d like to see is that not only that the economy continues to grow, but that everybody’s benefitting. When you travel around the country, you see incredibly hard-working folks. They’re doing the right thing, they’re looking after their families, but they haven’t seen as much wage and income growth as they should have, given high the stock market’s gone, how well corporate profits are doing. If we can make sure growth is coming from the middle class up, everybody’s benefitting from the hard work they’re putting in…we’ve made progress coming off the worst financial crisis of our lifetimes. We’re now back in a really strong position. I just want to make sure that, in two years when we look back, we’ll say not only have we recovered from that crisis, but actually we’ve built the kind of foundation that ensures America does well for generations to come.”
All that aside, the two indulged in a little home-ale while playing “either/or.”
Guthrie: “Football or basketball?”
Obama: “I’m still a basketball guy, but I love football.”
Guthrie: Offense or defense? [Careful, Mr. Bears fan.]
Obama: “Always offense.”
Guthrie: Wings or chips and guac?
Obama: “Now, that’s tough. I’m going to go chips and guac. I’m a fanatic about guac.”
Guthrie: Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden?
Obama: “Love ’em both. Good try.”