Sunday, February 1, 2009

Interview With a President

Perhaps as I write this, Ahmad Rashad is interviewing President Barack Obama as part of NBC's Super Bowl preview. I got to thinking how I might interview the new president. Being that he's a sports fan, I'd have to go with the traditional sports coach questions, and hope that he had a good sense of humor, which I think he does.

Me - OK, Mr. President. What a month! Inaugurated as President of the United States. Twice! Moved into the White House! Danced with your beautiful wife ten times in one night! Now a Super Bowl pregame interview with me. What's next? Are you going straight to Disneyland?

Obama - It's been quite a run for sure. Just living under the same roof as my family has been a big treat. The White House basketball court needs a lot of work, but isn't beyond hope. Have to decline that Disneyland trip. Sasha and Malia are just getting adjusted to their new school. Oh yeah, Michelle. Can you believe her and me? It's been fifteen years and I'm still a little stunned.

Me - I don't mean to dwell on the past, but I hope you'll comment on that amazing come-from-behind win over Senator Clinton in the Democratic Conference Final. I mean, she was preseason #1 in every poll. The pollsters could hardly spell your name to vote for you. How did you pull that off?

Obama - First let me say that Senator Clinton was a very tough opponent and can be proud of the fight she put up. We knew we were down bigtime, but we just kept playing. Indiana was big. I don't think many saw that coming. I was so impressed with Senator Clinton that I added her to my staff for next year.

Me - Will you be calling her at 3 a.m?

Obama - No comment. Can I call you at 3 a.m?

Me - And the General Election Bowl Sponsored by CNN, FOX, NBC, CBS, ABC and to a lesser extent C-SPAN, MSNBC and Comedy Central? That one seemed to go pretty well. When did you know you had it won?

Obama - When Aretha sang at the Inauguration. Oh, that was a little cold. Sorry, Aretha. You know I've got plenty of R-E-S-P-E-C-T for you. And that hat. Who saw that coming? No seriously, a lot of folks don't remember that we were tied after the two Convention Bowls. McCain brought in that rookie QB Palin. She really shook things up. Brought some new excitement to their side. But we stuck to our game plan. Really didn't make many adjustments, other than trying to dial down the celebrity meter a little. We just kept trying to execute. Things worked out. Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania - the big close ones all broke our way. Helps to be a little lucky.

Me - Did you think McCain was getting desperate when he brought Joe The Plumber in late in the game. I mean, he hadn't played a down all season. In fact, he hadn't played since high school.

Obama - I'm sure McCain just did what he thought was best for him at the time. I'm not going to second guess him after the fact. He's a great one and he put up a great fight.

Me - You mentioned execution. Talk about your team. An almost flawless effort. The Rev. Wright thing kept bouncing back at you. Somehow they minimized the damage.

Obama - I can't say enough about my team. Two essentially perfect game plans for a rookie in his first postseason. Wish I could send them all to Disneyland, but I need them here.

Me - And your fans. A lot of teams refer to their fans as their 12th man. In your case, the number goes up to about 60 million. Talk about them a bit.

Obama - Oh man. Now you might have to cut me off. Our fans - 60 million is probably a conservative figure. I did pretty well in some mock high school elections and even down to the lower grades. Sasha tells me it was a shutout in her second grade class in Chicago. They made phone calls, attended rallies, donated money, laundered uniforms, you name it. When we get this country back on its feet, we're gonna have a day for them at Disneyland. Count on it, friends.

Me - Let's look ahead to next season. The Problems of Our Nation and the World. Wow, are they tough!? Like the Ravens' 2000 defense and the 2007 Patriots offense with Tom Dempsey on the sideline ready to launch 60-yard field goals, coached by a cross between Don Shula, George Halas and God. And you've gotta play the entire schedule at once. How are you gonna handle that challenge? Can you get it done in one term?

Obama - Well I wish I could give you the pat answer and say we're gonna play 'em one game at a time, but we've got to attack on all fronts - the economy, energy, health care, our two wars, foreign policy, replacing the BCS bowls with a national playoff. My team is real busy. They get a four-hour break this afternoon to watch the game, but they have to back to work at halftime (after The Boss, of course) if the game is more than three touchdowns apart. Honestly, guys and gals, I'll make it up to you.

As for the one term question. We'll play as hard as we can for one term. If the good people of the United States see fit to give us a second in 2012, we'll keep working for them.

Me - You know I gotta ask this one. Who do you like today? Steelers or Diamondbacks, I mean Cardinals.

Obama - I ought to be neutral. President of all the people, you know. But dang it, swing state Pennsylvania brought me 25 electoral votes. Arizona went for my opponent. Gotta root for the Men of Steel.

Me - A score?

Obama - Steelers 23 Cardinals 15 - The Cards score late and convert a two-point play to get close, but the Steelers recover the onsides kick to wrap up the win.

Me - Wow that's my score! GMTA. Who's your MVP?

Obama - Now you're trying to pin me down. Troy Polamalu maybe. We Pacific Island guys gotta stick together. Wish I had some of his hair.

Me - Just one more. You're a big roundball fan. Who makes the NBA Finals this year? Can LeBron and the Cavs break up the Celtics and Lakers party?

Obama - The Lakes look tough. Did you hear that Andrew Bynum got hurt? That could slow them down, but probably not until the Finals. Celtics or Cavs? That's a toughie. I think the Celts experience is good for one more year, but look out for the Cavs in 2010.

Me - And if LeBron takes it all then, is he on your short list for second term Secretary of State, as a Nike campaign in production seems to indicate?

Obama - Now you're getting way ahead of things. (Quiets, pantomimes a long shot with LBJ's trademark follow through). (Whispering) Sweet!

The End