ISTANBUL — White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked this morning about President Obama having successfully picked the winner of the NCAA college basketball tournament, the University of North Carolina Tarheels.
"I have not seen him yet this morning to hear him gloat," Gibbs joked. "I know he’s still disappointed that he’s likely to finish behind both Axelrod and me in the pool. Which if he couldn’t win, he did say early on he just wanted to beat us. I do think he takes pride in the fact that he’s likely beaten Reggie in his pool. And I think he’s happy to have picked the winner but sorry to have missed the game."
As you no doubt know, "Axelrod" is a reference to White House senior adviser David Axelrod, and "Reggie" is a reference to personal assistant Reggie Love, who made it to the Final Four playing basketball for UNC’s rival, the Duke Blue Devils.
In addition to his having correctly picked the NCAA champion, President Obama gets some Carolina vindication with this win.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski had jokingly taken issue with President Obama’s relative lack of confidence in his team.
"Somebody said that we’re not in President Obama’s Final Four," Krzyzewski said from the Blue Devils’ first-round site in Greensboro, N.C. "And as much as I respect what he’s doing, really, the economy is something that he should focus on, probably more than the brackets."
The coach said, in referring to the president’s picks, "Why would I care about that? I love the guy, and I think he’s gonna be great."
Responded the president on the Ed Schultz radio show, "Coach K, I think, is a great coach. And you know, Reggie Love, my assistant, played for Coach K. And so it’s not surprising. I didn’t pick him to go to the finals. Look he’s a competitive guy, I just don’t think they’ve got the inside game to go all the way. But I look forward to him proving me wrong."
Villanova beat Duke 77-54 and the Blue Devils did not go onto the Final Four.