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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

WHITE HOUSE NOTEBOOK: Obama NCAA Pick Controversy

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President Barack Obama said Wednesday he’s taken enough flak for making his NCAA college basketball selections; he’s not about to wade into European soccer — or, as he correctly called it in London, “football.”

A reporter asked Obama his picks for the upcoming World Cup qualifier between England the Ukraine. Obama, laughing at himself and standing beside British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, balked. He noted his college basketball predictions “stirred up all kind of controversy.”

“The last thing I’m going to do is wade into European football,” Obama said, using the European name for the game known as soccer in the United States. “That would be a mistake. I didn’t get a briefing on that, but I sense that would be a mistake.”

The president went 1-for-4 on Final Four teams in his NCAA tournament bracket, hitting with North Carolina’s Tar Heels but losing with Louisville.

The split left Obama in the bottom 47 percent of the 5-plus million fans who entered ESPN.com‘s pool. After correctly choosing 14 teams to reach the round of 16, his bracket ranked in the top 40 percent.

Obama picked North Carolina to win the championship. The president’s bracket also had Louisville, Pittsburgh and Memphis making the Final Four.

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