WASHINGTON (CNN) – Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski has become a Republican talking point.
After it was revealed that President Obama left Duke out of the Final Four in his NCAA brackets, Krzyzewski remarked Wednesday that the president should focus more on the economy than on his basketball picks.
That quip caught the attention of a Republican senator, Lamar Alexander, who summoned up Coach K's comments at a GOP press conference on Thursday.
"The AIG bonuses make the president subject to the charge that he's living above the store but he's not minding it," Alexander told reporters. "He's even found time to fill out his NCAA basketball brackets, which is a healthy thing to do in my opinion."
Alexander continued: "But he picked North Carolina and he caused the Duke coach, our Olympic coach, Coach K, to say, respectfully, you might be spending less time on the brackets, Mr. President, and more time on the economy. I think that's what we'd like to see, with respect."
Alexander's home state of Tennessee is well-represented in the tournament, with four teams having earned bids. And Obama is predicting that one of those squads - Memphis - will return to the Final 4 this year.
Texas Sen. John Cornyn took a much harsher tone Thursday in a floor speech, saying that Obama might want to spend less time making basketball predictions and more time filling the many job openings still at the Treasury Department. Having more hands on deck, he said, might have led to better oversight of the AIG situation.
"I appreciate that President Obama has completed his 'March Madness' Tournament Bracket," Cornyn said. "Yet the organizational chart of his administration still has far too many open slots."