Obama, who is facing what is perhaps the most important vote of his second term as the House weighs whether to grant him trade promotion authority Friday, visited both parties’ dugouts during the course of an inning. The president is particularly wooing Democrats, who are largely opposed to the measure: he first visited with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and the Democrats’ team manager Rep. Dan Kildee (Mich.).
The White House has been targeting Congressional Black Caucus members as part of its lobbying campaign, and Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) -- a senior CBC member -- remained at Obama's side for most of his visit.
As he approached onlookers, the president asked them, "Are we having fun yet?"
After mingling for half an inning with Democrats, Obama went over to the Republican dugout to chat with lawmakers, where the trade bill enjoys considerable support. He shook hands with anyone who offered a hand.
Even Republican fans -- largely staff and lawmakers who aren't playing -- cheered and chanted “TPA” — the acronym for the trade measure. Democratic fans chanted “O-BAM-A.”
Obama stayed for roughly 15 minutes; it marked the first time in recent memory that a president had attended the annual congressional faceoff.
The president had his picture taken with Rep. Joe Barton, (R-Tex.), who has opposed the White House on issues ranging from climate change to the Affordable Care Act. He also spoke with Rep.Kevin Yoder (R-Kan).
The last play Obama saw was Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), another critic of the the administration and a 2016 hopeful, being struck out.
At the time the president departed for the White House, Democrats led the Republicans 3-1 in the third inning.