“We don’t need to spike the football,” President Barack Obama explained as his rationale for not releasing photos of the deceased Osama bin Laden.
On Capitol Hill, the decision was met with a slightly mixed reaction—which is to say, even many Republicans supported his decision not to release the photos, while a nearly unanimous nation supported the president’s decision to send SEAL Team Six in and take bin Laden out.
But if “ball spiking” was not appropriate for the president, neither, apparently, was simply returning to the huddle after the touchdown. A visit to Ground Zero (President Obama, it should be noted, graciously invited former President George W. Bush to attend) was hastily scheduled, as was a visit to a New York City firehouse where Obama reportedly campaigned, er, stated, “You’re always going to have a president and an administration who’s got your back.” From there it was on to Fort Campbell, Ky., for a speech to the troops described as the most successfully produced and scripted event thus far in the Obama presidency.
Those thinking the spiking would not last through the weekend were mistaken. Sunday night featured a positive 60 Minutes interview. If you were the only American unaware that the president would be on 60 Minutes, you may have received a Mother's Day email from Obama for America campaign manager Jim Messina reminding you to tune in, complete with a link for your local listings. [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on Obama.]
And since the campaign was now engaged, there was little doubt it would become an important part of campaign appearances. “In campaign appearance, Obama highlights bin Laden capture,” read the Washington Post headline of a story on President Obama’s remarks at an Austin, Texas, fundraiser, noting the “loud applause” by those in attendance, who, presumably, like the president, never warmed to the term “war on terror.”
In bullfighting, a victorious matador is allowed to take a vuelta, a long tour of the bullring. Screaming admirers shower the matador with flowers and other assorted gifts. Now, President Obama is taking his own tour of the ring, or, more precisely, a victory lap.
Just don’t accuse him of spiking the football.