ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) - He may be in a tough race for re-election but there is one thing that President Barack Obama will not do to court voters - fake allegiance to a sports team for political gain.
Obama was gently booed by some supporters at a campaign rally in Boston on Monday night after he dared to mention the that Kevin Youkilis, a popular Boston Red Sox baseball player, had been traded earlier in the day to the president’s beloved Chicago White Sox. The White House said Obama showed political courage in talking about the matter.
“I don’t think the American people appreciate it when politicians suddenly pretend they’re fans of another team just to curry favor,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney, who is a staunch Red Sox fan.
“This president is very serious about sports. He will not do that. He will not cross that line.”
Obama, an ardent supporter of the sports teams in his hometown Chicago, had goaded the Boston crowd with the unpopular news that Youkilis was heading west.
“I‘m just saying. He had to change the color of his Sox,” said Obama, drawing a swift reaction from the crowd.
Carney subsequently told reporters traveling with the president to Atlanta that some people at the event booed and that others - like him - were saying “Youk.”
“I didn’t think I’d get any boos out of here,” Obama had told the crowd, grinning widely. “I should not have brought up baseball. My mistake. You’ve got to know your crowd.”
Obama is on a two-day East Coast swing to raise funds for his November 6 re-election campaign. The trip began in New Hampshire on Monday and will end Tuesday evening in Miami. (Reporting by Alister Bull; Editing by Bill Trott)