Obama takes flak for ESPN appearance
President Obama takes a turn at a CBS microphone during a 2010 Georgetown/Duke basketball game (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
March 16th, 2011
03:06 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama takes flak for ESPN appearance

(CNN) – Republicans are taking aim at President Obama Wednesday for appearing on an ESPN segment to reveal his bracket picks for the NCAA Basketball tournament.

The GOP's beef?  The president should be focusing his attention elsewhere.

"How can @BarackObama say he is leading when puts his NCAA bracket over the budget & other pressing issues?" tweeted Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus Tuesday.

Appearing in a brief segment Wednesday, Obama, as he has in past years, unveiled his bracket picks, ultimately choosing Kansas, Duke, Ohio State, Pitt for his final four.   Before revealing the picks, the president did urge viewers to go to usaid.gov to donate to charities that are assisting in the aftermath of the earthquake in Japan.

Still, RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said the White House should "explain why filming an ESPN special on the NCAA tournament should be a priority on his public schedule."

For the record, Obama is picking Kansas to go all the way.

"Kansas has more firepower," he said.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (140 Responses)

    So....when the POTUS is doing #2 at home his attention should be focused on something else? Shut up, GOP. Where are the jobs?

    March 16, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  2. A

    This from the party of the longest vacationing president in history.

    March 16, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  3. Thor

    ... says the party whose last president was on vacation one third of the time!!!

    March 16, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  4. Mez

    The Republican Party is full of idiots! What happen to this once great party?

    March 16, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  5. Former Republican, now an Independent

    These neo-con nuts complain if the President takes time to eat or sleep. They should focus their attention on the American people instead of their negative politics and being the party of no. They are absolutely no help to the country whatsoever.

    March 16, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  6. Ryan C. Mendenhall

    Honestly, I think the Republicans are overreacting, but I guess that's nothing new. lol

    March 16, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  7. Make it simple....

    "Focusing his attention elsewhere"

    Now, coming from the Republicanknuckleheads.....THAT is hilarious. This party has the likes of Palin, and Trump in its club and they are throwing stones at Obama. Reality TV personalities running for the office of PRESIDENT? Man, old time Repugs have got to be piss-ed!!

    Besides, our president is a multi-tasker. He has a fully functional brain, I know the Repugs are used to helping Bushy boy sound out his words, and use flashcards, so, I assume Obama is a bit of enigma huh? I'm so proud of our president. He is the hardest working president we have had since Clinton.

    This party of 'family values' will use ANYTHING they can to make him look bad........and it is not working. But....boy, it won't take long to come up with issues in the Repug party, just allow the news to break daily and another one goes down in the dust due to his or her own behaviour. I love it......

    March 16, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  8. ConservaFascists/F.U.B.A.R.

    I'm more concerned with why the GOP leadership is holding closed door meetings with the Koch Brothers in California.

    March 16, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. Jo

    RNC get over it. How bad vacation days, not hours, days did Bush take during two major wars? I have heard nothing from the GOP about jobs, Japan or anything this two weeks expect shutting down the government during an internation crisis that has already hurt the economy.

    March 16, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  10. Jilli

    This is what republicans have to complain about? Good lord, grow up. The last republican president spent half his 2 terms on vacation, this president can surely spend 20 minutes with ESPN.

    How about jobs republicans????? I sure wish they'd grow up and address the issues the American voters are interested in – like jobs and the economy, not abortion and defunding planned parenthood. They said they were going to listen to "the American people" but it appears the only "American People" they're listenting to are the corporate masters.

    March 16, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. WA resident

    Should the president be minding and be concern about the economic problem of this country such as unemployment including chaos and calamities in the other countries? Instead, he spends time golfing and on TV which has nothing to do do with helping unemployed in this country find a job. Being PRESIDENT IS NOT A LUXURY IT IS A RESPONSIBILITY. YET, THE OBAMA'S ARE MORE INTO LUXURY AND FUN FAIR.

    March 16, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  12. Sequoia

    Yawn. Republicans' ridiculous and childish Obama Derangement Syndrome (ODS) was funny at first because of its desperation and sore loserism, but now it's just truly pathetic. They never cared when GW Bush was playing cowboy on his ranch while he destroyed America. At least Obama is doing a good job! When Obama took office, the US economy was losing 800,000 jobs a month. Now it's creating jobs. Best vote I ever cast. OBAMA 2012!

    March 16, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  13. vet in texas

    Where is Rand Paul and Michele Bachmann........not working for their constituents.

    non-story, GOP needs to come up with job creation legislation. From January to March they haven't done anything regarding job creation, only job destroying for those who aren't a part of their party. If I was a tea drinker I'd feel like a sucker for getting used.....wait, they're used to it, they voted for Bush twice. Which definitely makes them loose any credibility when it comes to how the president does his job.

    March 16, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. America

    This is stupid and a non-issue. This is all about raising money for the Japan situation. "Before revealing the picks, the president did urge viewers to go to usaid.gov to donate to charities that are assisting in the aftermath of the earthquake in Japan." He knows it's what the american people are watching right now is masses so why not do something good with it and also help Japan. So the real story is "Repubs pissed because Obama is helping raise money for Japan by thinking outside the box."

    March 16, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  15. Harlequinn

    I dunno, Reince. How can President Bush have been leading the country when he spent 487 days at Camp David and 490 days in Crawford Texas during his presidency? Oh, wait...
    BTW, if anyone is interested in the math... 365.25 x 8 = 2922 days of the Bush presidency. 490 + 487 = 977. 977/2922 = 33%. In light of these numbers, and until he has spent a full third of his presidency on vacaiton, I think that we can cut President Obama a little slack, can't we, GOP?

    March 16, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  16. John

    Give the guy a break; he has the single most stressful desk job on the planet. And if the Republicans are going to complain about how the prez spends his time, they should consider Bush Jr's, record-setting vacation time at the ranch in Crawford.

    March 16, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  17. Anthony R. Seta

    Blah-Blah-Blah.... It's the 2012 election campagin slogans kicking into high gear. The president has proven himself to be a multi-tasker. The prez and the government are responding well to the crisis in Japan, appropriately to the complex issues in Libya and doing what can be done about Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Quiet at it has been kept by the press, the president's Democrat allies in the Senate need to stop whining and step up to help the president. Some of these guys are just tiresome to listen to on the news at night with their limited focus on their own state constituencies. The issues (multiple crises) that currently confront this nation are terribly complicated and won't be resolved before Obama finishes filling out NCAA card or enjoys a few moments of being outside on a nice day. He has the right to spend a few moments of his day to pick his favorite teams for the B-Ball tournament. Everyone is entitled to some small daily pleasures, even our over-worked president. I understand the need for the GOP to express such opinions about the president, especially since he is doing everything in a manner that they would not (i.e. his approach is correct). This is election politics. Nothing important, but the GOP must make noises to stay relevant at these crucial moments in world history. We are truly lucky to have Obama leading this nation at this time. The alternatives (had they won in 2008) would be truly pathetic and it pains me to even ponder the hypotheticals of a McCain-Palin response to all of this. YIKES!!!

    March 16, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  18. A keen observer

    What are the "Greedy Old Pigs" complaining about? They campaigned on creating jobs and they have yet to create one single job. The GOP hypocrites should STFU and do what they promised to do. Especially Priebus; he is supposed to raise money for the GOP. I hear they are over their heads in debt so Priebus must not be doing his job. Here is some advice for the Pigs: focus idiots and create jobs, jobs, jobs.

    March 16, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  19. Zazu

    Conservatives are petty as usual. Nothing new here!

    March 16, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  20. rob

    Presidents always have many pressing issues to deal with and they deserve to have down time, but this is no 9 to 5 job he has. The issues in the world right now including Japan, the middle east powderkeg and our debt and financial crisis right here, deserve a bit more time and energy than playing golf, basketball and a "sightseeing trip" to Brazil this weekend.

    The world needs leadership from the United States. If we abdicate this leadership to the UN or the EU, nothing will get done and the world will look to other nations like China to fill the void. That is not a good prospect.

    March 16, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  21. Liz in Texas

    The Republicans have completely jumped the shark.

    March 16, 2011 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  22. TTBALA

    Don't these people have anything better to do than sit and watch what the President does and jump on him, if the president is not allowed to take few hours of rest and respit from his tasks, then I should say you idiop GOPers you should not take time off either to watch what the president is doing, go do your jobs, if you know what to do that is.

    March 16, 2011 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  23. Joan

    How ridiculous can these people be? He only spent a very short time doing this and he is definitely not shirking his responsibilities. In fact he used it to draw attention to giving to the victims in Japan. Actually, by having some activities such as this and his commitment to his family, he is a better President because he needs some stress relievers now and again. It might do some of these up-tight Republicans some good to lighten up a bit. President Obama has proven that he can do many things at one time. He can "chew gum and walk at the same time".

    March 16, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  24. A True Centrist

    Absolutely no leadership when it came to Libya, the rest of the Middle East or Japan. He gave in and extended the life of Guantanamo, even though he campaigned on shutting the place down.

    It's almost like he stopped even pretending to be a leader. What a complete and utter disappointment he has been...pretty much the Democratic version of GW, except we had hope for Obama and none for GW.

    March 16, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. Liberal4Obama

    What is the GOP doing about Japan? Has John Boehner urged Americans to HELP Japan? Of course not, he is too busy pandering to his extreme right wing on the budget and kicking the can down the road by passing multiple Continuin Resolutions.

    March 16, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
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