Overachiever-in-Chief: Is There an Issue the President Won't Weigh in On?

Is there an issue the president won't weigh in on?

ByABC News
July 27, 2009, 4:08 PM

WASHINGTON, July 28, 2009— -- Sometimes the job of the president requires a bit of juggling.

The clock is ticking down until Congress heads out of town for its August recess and President Obama is still pushing for progress on health care reform. But on Monday he stepped back from the issue to do some sports lobbying on behalf of the United States.

Obama put his juggling skills to work with an Oval Office sales pitch to Joseph Blatter, the head of FIFA, soccer's international governing body.

The president's goal? To bring the 2018 or 2022 World Cup soccer championship to the United States.

This was not Obama's first leap into the international soccer scene.

This spring the president wrote a letter to FIFA in which he said: "Hosting another successful World Cup is important for the continued growth of the sport in the United States."

Obama's pitch was personal and echoed themes from his campaign.

"As a child, I played soccer on a dirt road in Jakarta, and the game brought the children of my neighborhood together. As a father, I saw that same spirit of unity alive on the fields and sidelines of my own daughters' soccer games in Chicago," he wrote. "[T]his bid is about much more than a game. It is about the United States of America inviting the world to gather all across our great country in celebration of our common hopes and dreams."

More than just a gesture of global unity, a World Cup in the United States would also mean a significant source of economic development and revenue for cities across the nation, which is why a meeting like this could land on the president's crowded schedule.

In the Oval Office on Monday, the lobbying went both ways. FIFA's Blatter wants Obama, whose daughters Malia and Sasha play soccer, to help raise the sport's profile in the United States. He also wants the American president in the stands at next year's World Cup in South Africa.

Obama has indicated recently that he's game.

Asked by a reporter at the G-8 summit last month if he was going to the 2010 World Cup, Obama quipped, "That's my goal. Did you get that, the little pun there?"