Skating at White House: Bad or Rad?

Critics call Tony Hawk's stunt disrespectful; his fans say it was awesome.

June 18, 2009, 4:00 PM

June 20, 2009 — -- Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk is taking on the "haters" who think his decision to ride inside at the White House was not so rad.

Hawk briefly skated in the Grand Foyer of the White House on Friday during a day-long visit for a Father's Day celebration hosted by President Obama.

Hawk also took a ride over the checkered tiles of a hallway in the nearby Old Executive Office Building.

He quickly posted photos of his escapade online, touching off a lively debate. By Saturday afternoon, Hawk felt the need to defend himself.

"Wow, haters! My passion, the sport that made me who I am, has allowed me to live the American Dream, disrespects the White House? Not at all," Hawk wrote on his Twitter page.

"I did no damage, as I also saw cart and trolley wheels rolling along the same floor. Funny how football on the WH lawn yesterday = no drama," he wrote.

Hawk, 41, also known for his hugely popular skateboarding video games, kept his 900,000 followers on Twitter updated throughout the day Friday during every step -- and roll -- of his White House visit.

"Hi. I am inside the White House gates eating Frosted Flakes and about to do press. You heard it here first. Yes, I brought my skateboard," he wrote at 7:34 a.m.

Hawk took his first spin shortly after 9 a.m., on a dare from the actor Ashton Kutcher, he said.

"Snagged a weak manual on the way to CNN while nobody was looking," he posted.

"And here is my exit," he wrote just before 10 a.m., posting a link to another photo. "Supposed to return at noon for the First fathers event if they let me back in."

They did, and at 3:23 p.m. Hawk sent another Tweet: "Town Hall meeting. The message: embrace responsibility as a father. Still can't believe I'm here."

On conservative blogs, and newspaper message boards, Hawk's critics could not believe it, either.

"This has got to be the most disrespectful act so far, by this administration!" a poster using the name Sunshine Nurse wrote on the USAToday's Web site. "What's next, the skeet shooting of the American eagle?"

Over at a poster using the name Tom wrote, "I don't care if he had permission. I don't care if some nitwits think this is 'cool.' It is a disgrace. You don't ride in the house and you don't ride in the People's House. It's a lame, self-aggrandizing display by a disrespecting loser."

Another critic added, "Drop the bomb on us now. ... We are officially ready."

But Hawk had more than his share of defenders.

"Tony is the MAN. Rock on, Brotha," a fan by the name of "Biff" wrote on

"Just ignore the ignorant people who don't even deserve the mention," a poster on Hawk's Twitter picture page advised. "You are awesome and this was a, like, once in a lifetime opportunity. So cool! :)"

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