Even during one of his toughest days in the Oval Office, President Obama yesterday got a chance to play hooky.
As a band played "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," the president welcomed the 2010 World Series champion San Francisco Giants to the White House, comparing himself to the scrappy team and commending their off-the-field contributions that include raising money for wounded soldiers and calling attention to bullied teenagers.
Enjoying a break from the debt ceiling crisis, he mentioned the team's label of "misfits and cast offs" and suggested that the players, including long-haired strikeout machine Tim Lincecum and the bearded flame thrower Brian Wilson, would be more appropriately dubbed "characters with character."
Then, giving a thumbs up to Lincecum, the president added, "America learned sometimes it's a good idea to bet on the skinny guy. So, you and me."
The biggest laugh came when Obama addressed Wilson, stating "I do fear it" in reference to his jet-black beard. Obama also joked that Michelle was glad that attention would be directed to someone else's wardrobe today, as Wilson is also known for his wild fashion choices, including most recently a spandex tuxedo worn on the red carpet at the ESPYs.
The Giants were originally supposed to visit in late April during a series with the Washington Nationals, but that was rescheduled because it coincided with the killing of Osama bin Laden.
The Monday event drew many political VIPs from the San Francisco area including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, sporting the team's signature orange in her scarf, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Mayor Ed Lee, and former mayors Willie Brown and Gavin Newsom, now the lieutenant governor of California. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, a former California House member described by Obama as a "big Giants fan," was also in attendance.
With the world champs filling the bleachers behind him, Obama directed everyone's attention to the legendary Giants' star Willie Mays, who received a standing ovation and loud cheers from the large crowd.
"Two years ago I invited Willie to ride with me on Air Force One on the way to the All-Star Game in St. Louis," the president said. "It was an extraordinary trip. Very rarely when I'm on Air Force One am I the second most important guy on there."
The event concluded with Obama receiving another 44 jersey to add to his growing collection, a team-signed bat, and a custom glove in the colors of the president's favorite team, the Chicago White Sox.
"We should do something like this every day," said Obama. "This is good."