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Michael Jordan at Obama basketball fund-raiser

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With all the basketball stars at an Obama fund-raiser in New York Thursday--including Michael Jordan-- President Barack Obama had an interesting observation:

"It is very rare I come to an event where I'm like the fifth or sixth most interesting person. Usually the folks want to take a picture with me, sit next to me, talk to me. That has not been the case at this event and I completely understand."

From the pool report by Laura Meckler of the Wall Street Journal:

President Obama addressed about 120 people at a dinner held on a stage in the Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, many of them connected to pro basketball. Michael Jordan and David Stern were standing at the microphone as the pool entered the room.

Most of the speech was standard stump fare, with basketball references at top and bottom, and some Akin material.

"Recently some of you have been paying attention to the commentary about the senator (sic) from Missouri, Mr. Akin, who... the interesting thing here is that this, this is an individual who sits on the House Committee on Science and Technology but somehow missed science class. And it's representative of the desire to go backwards instead of forwards and fight fights that we thought were settled 20 or 30 years ago," he said.

Spotted in the crowd by my much more basketball attuned co-pooler Reid Epstein were Bill Bradley, Michael Jordan & fiance Yvette Prieto, Patrick Ewing, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Walt "Clyde" Frazier.

Obama acknowledged Jordan, Stern and Duncan ("an outstanding basketball player in his own right") at the top of his remarks. He also said there were some legendary Knicks in the house.

"This is my dream team."

He said it is "very rare I come to an event where I'm like the fifth or sixth most interesting person. Usually people want to take a picture with me.. sit next to me, talk to me.. That has not been the case at this event."

He then segued into his normal stump material about fighting for the middle class, etc.

"Now we've got a Republican party that has gone so far to the extreme that it becomes very hard for us to see Washington getting anything done."

"Mr. Romney, my opponent, his main economic (plan?) is to give everyone in this room a tax cut. The fact of the matter is we can't afford it." It would mean gutting investments in education, health care, science, infrastructure.

He said that in Las Vegas, the teachers he met with told him that their average class size was 38 and some classes have 45 kids and there aren't enough desks. Text books date back to 2003 and teacher has to explain that there are countries there that don't exist anymore.

"That's not unusual in big chunks of the country."

He wound up by saying: ""I can't resist a basketball analogy. We are in the fourth quarter. We're up by a few points but the other side is coming strong and they, they, they play a little dirty. (Laughter) We've got a few folks on our team in foul trouble. We've got a couple of injuries and I believe that they've got one last run in them."

"I'd say there's about seven minutes to go in the game. And Michael's competitiveness is legendary and nobody knows better than Michael that if you've got a little bit of a lead and there's about seven minutes ago, that's when you put them away."

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on August 22, 2012 11:00 PM.

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