March 19th, 2009
12:39 PM ET
5 years ago

GOP senator backs Coach K on Obama's basketball picks

President Obama did not pick Duke to advance to the Final 4.
President Obama did not pick Duke to advance to the Final 4.

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.

Related: Coach K disses Obama's 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."


Filed under: John Cornyn • Lamar Alexander • President Obama
soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. Steve

    Give me a break! Obama is making the economy his top priority!
    No he is buisy pushing his Socialist agenda

    March 19, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  2. Bob Lees

    Really, this is all the GOP has? Whininig about Obama's NCAA bracket is the key weakness they spot in the Demcrats armor.

    This is a pathetic display from what will, at this rate, be the minority party for a long, long time.

    I think I'll bump Duke out at the Sweet 16 level now and email it to coach K as a lark, maybe he can complain about my time management skills too.

    March 19, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. Marco De Lillis

    This is pure BS. As the top dog in the USA, the man needs some sort of distraction. All of you republicans are all complaining about him. He's trying to fix the mess you've created in the past 8 years. President Bush in a speech in Calgary, Alberta Canada, didn't even criticize President Obama. For once he's done something right. Maybe you should all shut up and if he's done such a bad job in 4 years, then don't re-elect him. You bunch of winers..

    March 19, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  4. Harvard Alumni for Obama

    Well, I wouldn't have expected anything less from those idiots. Jeeze, the GOP just keeps growing more ridiculous by the day!

    March 19, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. Belle2

    Well–this is important!

    March 19, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  6. Debbie

    Wow the Rethugs reek of desperation. LOL.

    March 19, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. Ignorance

    These cheating greedy individuals are the problem in America, not packages and/or deregulation. Man/Woman are not worthy of trust. Money is the root of all evil. Our society allows people to commit crimes and we look the other way. Our justice system is a joke. Our government is a joke and so are our laws. We actually have individuals who get paid to find loopholes in laws to gain a profit, and we reward them with praise and money.

    Madoff and his family will be allowed to keep some of their money, but if a criminal (drug dealer) gets caught they relinquish everything to the government. To me there is no difference – they are both disgusting.

    March 19, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. Bill Williams

    What the hell! How much time did our last GOP president spend on vacation?

    Maybe if he wouldn't have been 'clearing brush' and falling of Segways he would have been doing more to advert this crisis.

    But, its not like 'prevent' or 'advert' is in the GOP's dictionary. 9/11, Katrina, the handling of the Iraq war....

    March 19, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  9. Capital Insider

    @heather Obama is making the economy his top priority!

    Yeah he is making it clear with the AIG bailout that he is ok with excessive greed by allowing the Treasury Department through his appointee Geitner leave "loopholes" in the stimulus bill.

    Senator Dodd clearly is trying to distance himself away from this, and President Obama is trying to get the focus off of him by picking teams for the NCAA. Who cares!

    I want don't care who he picks for the NCAA, I just want to know where my money as a taxpayer is going. Because I am not the only one who voted for Obama who is starting to feel buyer remorse.

    March 19, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  10. Nan

    Good Lord! Give Obama a break! Sometimes ya just gotta give the brain some down time. And considering the mess the Republicans bequeathed him, he deserves all the down time he can get!

    March 19, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. WC

    Everyone in a America is filing out a bracket, including Alexander and Cornyn . . . and if Obama didn't do it, they would claim further evidence that he was born in Indonesia thus isn't an American or is to much of an elitist to do so.

    Hilarious, considering the Bush took more vacation days than any other president in history. "Stop asking me questions, now watch this drive!!"

    And as for Coack K, shut up, get past the second round this year and maybe you'll get some respect.

    March 19, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  12. Simmy

    This is becoming uncomfortable. I'm not accustomed to so much envy and jealousy coming from men. Republican men desperately need a self-esteem coach. One man (President Obama) has ignited a furor of animosity because of who he is more than what he does.

    The 'cult of criticism' exhibited within the GOP is unprecedented. They have refused to stand with "this" president from the beginninig, and will find anything, small or large, to retroactively lay at his feet. Most Americans have moved on from political games and propaganda, but they (R) didn't receive a memo. They are still using 20th century techniques in a 21st century world.

    March 19, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  13. For Real

    "The GOP is completely out of touch. I appreciate a President that is more like an "Average American" and can take time to do something that he enjoys. BB is our President's favorite sport. Let the man be a fan, and please, GOP, STFU!!!!"

    Excuse me? Its the DEMS that are out of touch. Get freakin real! All "you" did is elect a celebrity President. I'd rather have someone in there that knows about what is going on in this country, rather than making appearances on Leno.

    GIVE ME A REAL PRESIDENT!

    March 19, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  14. Deb

    What a jerk! Can the Republicans be any lamer?

    March 19, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  15. Andy

    These criticisms are well founded. The big 'O' should focus on governing, not on athletic entertainment, since Washington DC has enough comedy and tragedy to go around.

    March 19, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  16. Mark

    I think the MEDIA should be reflecting on Obama's economic choices anyway.

    March 19, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  17. BeefyDaddy

    Hilarious. The GOP is such a farce. PLEASE keep putting microphones in front of their stupid pie-holes. Every time they talk, they set their side back another 4 years.

    March 19, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  18. Kelsey

    Who cares? Mine took me 2 minutes to fill out. If we want to have a President who isn't constantly stressed out, he's gotta take 5 minutes for himself. Obama watches SportsCenter every night before bed, maybe he did it then. He's been a lifelong basketball fan and it's a hobby. Bush had hobbies, like Baseball. Coach K is just mad he didn't get picked and the Texas senator is mad because McCain didn't get picked, sore losers.

    March 19, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  19. Kurt C.

    Obama sure does seem to spend time doing stuff other than actually working. Every Wednesday he has a music group at the house wasting our money and then he finds time to worry about basketball brackets and playoff in college football.

    Remember how liberals used to criticize Bush about going golfing? Well, you cannot have it two ways, liberals.

    March 19, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  20. For Real

    "Republicans… give it a rest. Obviously you don't have enough to do, right? I mean, you seem to be able to spend all your time monitoring what President Obama is doing.

    What have YOU done lately, except complain?"

    And exactly WHAT did you do while Bush was in office? Not complain??? I hardly think so.

    I have seen how its been so far. Last 8 years = Bush Bash, next 4 = leave Obama alone. Whatev!

    March 19, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. Jon

    Coach K should spend more time focusing on his team's strategy than on national economic matters, a subject clearly over his head. If he did that, maybe Duke wouldn't be such a disappointment in the tournament as it has been the last few years.

    March 19, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  22. he can back who ever he wants

    but I'm going to win

    March 19, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  23. Steph

    More whining from the Right. That's exactly what the country needs right now, not!

    March 19, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  24. Lance

    Heaven forbid if Obama ever needed a break from his stressful job and actually enjoyed doing something millions of Americans do every year. At least he doesn't head over to his ranch every two weeks. But that was different, right?

    March 19, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  25. Bryan

    I can't believe they've turned THIS into an attack point!!! Is this pathetic or what? They're acting like Obama spent a week filling out his bracket! I filled mine out in 15 minutes on my lunch break!

    The GOP is nothing but a bad joke scrambling for a punchline..

    March 19, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
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