The president toured the museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., with hall-of-famer Andre “The Hawk” Dawson, checking out Jackie Robinson’s jersey and Babe Ruth’s bat as well as the ball thrown by President Taft for the first-ever presidential first pitch.
Obama donated to the museum his own piece of presidential history: The jacket he wore when he threw out the first pitch at the 2009 All-Star game. He did not, however, donate the infamous “mom” jeans he wore to that game.
“With all the media attention about it, there was also some interest in the jeans I wore that night,” he joked. “But Michelle retired those jeans quite a while back.”
Besides taking in the history of America’s national pastime, Obama was also in Cooperstown to promote tourism as a driver of economic growth.
“When visitors come here, they don’t just check out the hall. They rent cars, they stay in hotels, they eat at restaurants, and that means, for upstate New York, the Baseball Hall of Fame is a powerful economic engine,” Obama said, as he stood in the Hall of Fame Plaque Gallery, surrounded by the names of baseball’s legendary players.
Eager to show he’s taking action despite the logjam in Congress, the president today used the “power of his pen” to sign a Presidential Memorandum to make it easier for international travelers to visit the U.S., including calling for a review of ways to expedite the entry process and reduce wait times at the nation’s 15 largest airports.
“We don’t respond with cynicism, and we can’t respond with gridlock,” he said. “Every generation faces tough times, but in the words of the great Yogi Berra, they’re just deja vu all over again.”