February 2nd, 2009
04:40 PM ET
14 years ago

Malveaux: Inside Obama's Super Bowl party

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/02/art.rothlisberger0202.gi.jpg caption="Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger received a call from the president after winning the Super Bowl Sunday night."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The White House theater was packed, all 40 seats filled, so guests spilled out into the East Wing, where big TV sets were set up overlooking the first lady's garden. The Super Bowl game blasted from the theater, but Sunday's party hosted by the president and first lady focused more on family.

Attendees say about 75 people showed up, including several dozen children from age 2 on up.

The children gathered around a Nintendo Wii where, Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent said, his 8-year-old son, Jack, took on two sisters determined to win. No, not the two sisters who live upstairs.

President Barack Obama, wearing a casual button-down shirt, walked from room to room serving his guests brownies, and oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies. Michelle Obama worked the crowd, too.

There were hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, chips and salsa, soft pretzels, hot fudge ice cream and pizza.

The crowd was diverse. Attending were Attorney General-designate Eric Holder, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, wounded soldiers, and plenty of children running around in oversized jerseys.

Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, decked out in an Arizona Cardinals jersey, placed a wager with Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, whose wife and kids donned Steelers gear. The loser would have to wear the other guy's team jersey when the House returned on its first full day in session on Wednesday.

Franks accepted his loss Monday, saying he'd be wearing the Steelers jersey –"It's always important to be magnanimous in victory and humbling in defeat."

Franks, who had voted against the House version of the stimulus plan, said he and the president did not talk about the economic package, but rather about their children. Franks now has 6-month-old twins, a boy and a girl.

He said the president was "very gracious." The Arizona congressman gave the president a Cardinals jersey with the number 40. It is the number of former Cardinals player Pat Tillman, who left the team to join the military and was killed in Afghanistan.

Franks said Obama responded, "I'd be honored to accept that."

He was making no political statement about the war in giving the president the shirt, he said: "He was a very famous Cardinal who personified everything that is noble. The men who are on front lines so some can stay home and watch the Super Bowl."

Later several guests cracked up when a young boy approached Obama and asked, "Mr. President. Where is the bathroom? Can you tell me where the bathroom is?"

Obama responded with a smile, "How would I know? I've only been living here 10 days."

Despite a healthy group of Arizona representatives, Steelers' fans outnumbered the Cardinals. Among them were Pennsylvania Democratic lawmakers Rep. Patrick Murphy and Sen. Bob Casey.

Attendees described the cheering as "somewhat restrained" and any foul language was "under control."

Rep. Charlie Dent, a Republican representing Pennsylvania's 15th District, said the party was "really fun." But he warned it wouldn't necessarily change his view about the president's stimulus plan.

Dent voted against the House version and said, "I take each issue on a case-by-case basis. There are areas on which I agree and disagree. I think it's important to have some kind of stimulus package, it just depends on what's in it. I'll have to see the revised version."

But politics aside, Dent said his family had a ball. "I really commend the president for reaching out. Very smart."

Franks agreed.

"It's always good for members of Congress and the president to personalize and humanize each other, regardless of what events they face together in the future," he said. "The hope is it will diminish politics and encourage working together for the country's best interest."

Filed under: Michelle Obama • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Humored In Texas

    Notice how nobody seemed to give a rat's behind what the Bush Family was doing for the Super Bowl?!

    February 2, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  2. T

    I will admit that I am not a fan of President Obama's decisions thus far, however I do find it refreshing that he is very un-politican like in his personal life. I very much like the fact that he truly has an aura of an 'every man' and even though I may disagree with his ideas, I like the fact that he is not treating himself and his position as royalty, but as a public servant and a human being.

    February 2, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  3. shoegazer

    No mention of any booze and you have the gall to call it a Super Bowl Party.Nonsense.

    February 2, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  4. Proud American

    Nice host.

    February 2, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  5. Marian Lauria

    I am glad to see a few members of each party come together with their families to enjoy a favorite American pasttime.
    Having a strong debate on issues is a good thing, but to enjoy time with your fellow debater is, also, a very good thing.
    It sounds strange...the president hosting GOP'ers and DEM's in the Whitehouse. But I love it!

    February 2, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  6. Rob Stumpf

    When Obama called, I wish Ben would have just hung up on him.

    February 2, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  7. Pel

    Thank you for a president who is not afraid of people from either side of the aisle. It is wonderful that a person can fight like the dickens for what he or she believes and not be vilified or they in turn vilifying the other side.

    Keep going Mr. President.

    February 2, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  8. Reno

    Thank you CNN for covering the serious news and and also for sharing heart warming stories of human interests. Most of us are inspired by the way that President Obama treat people. This story of his Superbowl party was a pleasure to read amidst all the intense activities that are going on in Washington DC and all over the globe.

    February 2, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  9. Peter (CA)

    For all of the whiny right wingers who say that Obama does not reach out but that Bush did (there's a delusion).

    Here is how you build bipartisanship. You talk to people who have different opinions than you, you eat with them, you treat them like friends. Then when you see you have more in common with them than you think, you build bridges.
    This guy has got it right.

    February 2, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  10. paul (staunch Moderate)

    OK – – So, how much did this extravaganza cost us?

    Politics aside, none of the entertaining he will do in the White House will be done on his dime.

    February 2, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  11. mike

    I hope none of the 'stimulus' money will go to paying for this party.

    February 2, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  12. sick of 2009

    Seriously.......I thought we were in the worse recession in 3 decades??

    What a sham.

    February 2, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  13. traveler

    Again, as I have said this before...there are MANY links on CNN that lists all of the worlds problems and pestilence for your reading and viewing pleasure. There is nothing wrong with posting other stories. The website is huge. Spare me the Orwell references. I think it is fun that they had a party...almost everyone in America did. The Superbowl is considered a huge event and as our style of football is a major part of American culture. Calm down. There are still plenty of stories on the failing economy, Gaza and what shoes Palin sold. I am sure those would interest you Pablo...*yawns*

    February 2, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  14. Steve

    "1984 this comment," Pablo? Really? The fact that CNN can't print every single comment that it gets is the same as vicious thought control? Really?

    It's called perspective. Get some.

    In any case, I'm glad that this bipartisan crowd had a good time. It was a great game!

    February 2, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  15. Eddy

    Why do you I feel everyday like Mr Obama is MY President. For some reasons, there is something about the man that just says "He is one of us", We put him where he is. The bossy, commander, non smiling, type of President should be over. Let's have fun in spite of our differences and the toughness of the current days. God bless America!

    February 2, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  16. FATillery


    News is not always important. It can also be fun, informative and uplifting. We can sure use some of that about now!

    Frank Tillery
    One of U.S.

    February 2, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  17. German,Irish American

    HMMM, after reading about his past drug habit in his book, I wonder what was in the brownies?

    February 2, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  18. Flo

    Everyday folks enjoying a natural pastime.............mingling a little business with pleasure. It is important the Obama's invite folks over for parties and try to lead as normal a life as possible. I think Malia and Sasha probably enjoyed meeting new people.

    February 2, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  19. Edisto

    It might not be news but it made me feel a little better – just knowing our political leaders are human and share family life – thanks for the 'story'. Sick and tired of only hearing about the awful stories (news).

    February 2, 2009 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  20. Angela Washington

    President Obama is a natural, I am glad he is a down to earth person.. I find my self still calling him Barrack, not for lack of respect rather he feels like and old friend wh has been around forever...

    February 2, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  21. yes we can


    February 3, 2009 03:44 am at 3:44 am |
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