Joel Siegel and Karen Travers report:
President Obama should hope that the big health-care vote scheduled for Sunday turns out better than his N.C.A.A. tournament picks.
The First Fan’s brackets –- along with most of America’s -– were left in shambles when his pick for the national championship, top overall seed Kansas, was shocked by No. 9 Northern Iowa 69-67 on Saturday night.
Obama told ESPN earlier this week his selection of Kansas was motivated in part by wanting Health and Human Services Secretary -– and former Kansas governor — Kathleen Sebelius to be happy while working on health care.
"She is a fanatical Jayhawks fan, she's a maniac when it comes to the Jayhawks — talks trash all the time," Obama said then.
"I want her to be happy when she's working on these important issues here," he added.
Earlier Saturday, another of his Final Four picks, Villanova, fell to No. 10 seed St. Mary’s — another huge upset.
The Villanova game was concluding just as the president was supposed to be meeting with Democrats on Capitol Hill to give a pep talk on health care reform. Perhaps not-so-coincidentally, the president was late for the meeting.
Until Saturday’s games, Obama was enjoying a nice run in the tournament. “Obama’s strong First Round,” read a blog post by the New York Times.
He went 25 and 7 with his first-round selections, after correctly picking a number of upsets, including No. 13 Murray State over No. 4 Vanderbilt, and No. 12 Cornell over No. 5 Temple.
Obama also was on the money by correctly forecasting all three of the No. 10 seeds that beat No. 7 seeds in the first round.
Heading into the second round Saturday afternoon, all but two of his Sweet 16 selections were still alive; Georgetown and Marquette were his only busts.
And then it all came undone -– quickly.
Last year Obama correctly picked North Carolina to win the tournament and when the Tar Heels visited the White House a few months later, the president thanked them for "vindicating" him.
– Joel Siegel and Karen Travers