ABC News’ Mary Bruce (@marykbruce) Reports:
President Obama swallowed his pride for his hometown Chicago Bears and welcomed the Green Bay Packers to the White House today to celebrate their Super Bowl victory.
Obama, a die-hard Bears fan, admitted that welcoming the rival team was no easy task, especially given that the Packers beat his beloved Bears in the championship to advance to the Super Bowl.
“I'm just going to come out and say it. This hurts a little bit. This is a hard thing for a Bears fan to do,” the president said at the top of his remarks. “It doesn't hurt as much as the NFC championship game hurt, but it still hurts. You know, you guys come into my house, to rub it in.”
In the “interest of good sportsmanship,” the president congratulated the Packers on their fourth Super Bowl victory and record 13th NFL championship.
Obama still had a few scores to settle, however, and singled out cornerback Charles Woodson for giving him a hard time last season. After the Packers beat the Bears, Woodson sent the president a signed jersey that read: “See you at the White House.”
“Charles, you're a man of your word. And I've now learned something that every NFL quarterback already knows too well: Don't mess with Charles Woodson,” Obama said.
The president also praised the Packers for their charity work in communities across Wisconsin and Michigan. “So even a Bears fan can admit that the relationship between Green Bay and its team is something special,” he said.
The team presented the president with a personalized jersey and shares in the team, which is publicly owned. As a new partial owner, the president immediately had a few suggestions, including trading Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the Bears.
Looking ahead, the president said it was good to have football right around the corner. “Like every football fan, I was thrilled to have the lockout ended. Nobody likes long, frustrating negotiations with a rigid opposition taking it to the brink,” he said in a nod to debt debate.
As for this upcoming season, Obama told the Packers to “enjoy it while it lasts.”
“Bears fans have two dates circled on our calendars: September 25th and Sunday Night Football on Christmas Day! And if you guys are on a roll by then, just keep in mind that there's only one person here who can ground all planes in and out of Green Bay if he has to,” he concluded.