June 25th, 2012
10:01 PM ET
8 years ago

Obama hits nerve with Red Sox Nation

Boston, Massachusetts (CNN) - During a fund-raiser at Symphony Hall here on Monday night, President Barack Obama touched on a sore subject while joking with the crowd prior to diving into his prepared remarks.

“Boston, I just want to say thank you for Youkilis,” Obama said, referencing former Boston Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis who was traded on Sunday to the Chicago White Sox – the president’s favorite baseball team.

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A mainstay on the infield in Boston’s Fenway Park for the past six years, Youkilis was a part of both the 2004 and 2007 World Series Championship teams. Despite his declining performance in recent years, Youk – as he was affectionately called – was one of the most popular players in town, and the crowd of nearly 2,000 Obama supporters responded to the president’s comment with resounding boos.

“I’m just saying he’s going to have to change the color of his sox,” Obama said with a chuckle. “I didn’t think I’d get any boos out of here. I guess I should not have brought up baseball. I understand, my mistake, my mistake. You gotta know your crowd.”

Despite appearing still a bit sensitive at the departure of one its beloved ball players, the crowd quickly forgave Obama with one woman even shouting, “We still love you.”

Perhaps it was just a bit too soon.

Update: While the Boston crowd seemed to let go of the Red Sox jab, Obama's comments seemed to catch fire among some of the team's most loyal fans the following day.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney clarified the president's remark with reporters on Air Force One Tuesday and later tweeted: "Let's be clear: POTUS, a proud ChiSox fan, thanked Boston crowd for Youk. Some booed. Others, like me, cried "Yoooouk!" in sad memoriam."

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer also weighed in on Twitter, saying the president should be acknowledged for not pandering to local sports fans.

"Its telling that the general rx of the media is that failing to pander to the crowd on sports is a gaffe.True sports fans understand loyalty," he wrote.

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Filed under: 2012 • Massachusetts • President Obama
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. T'sah from Virginia

    Yes, WE STILL LOVE YOU President Obama!!! (Actually, I'm a NY Mets/NY Giant fan!!!)

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward

    June 25, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  2. What in the world

    What in the world has happened to my world? I can only hope the people that are adivsors on any panel for immiragition has had to actually LIVE in the real world recently. I live in NY, I could only wish for AZ stance. If the President was to look into our social welfare services Im sure the laws would change. My great grandparents came here as immigrants. They learned the ENGLISH language, WORKED and contriubited to society. I am a person in 100% agreement in maing a better life, but I am really tired of it being at my expense. Lets get back to the basics of life. I think our country was much happier when we had the pledge, prayer and promise of The United States to look forward to then giving our best to foreign countries or to people that want a better life just so long as they dont have to work for it or learn it.

    June 25, 2012 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  3. whybs on twitter

    The White Sox lost to the underdog Twins today! Never take life too seriously; a little humor is good! 🙂

    June 25, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  4. Thomas

    Go Giants !

    June 25, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  5. the other Dean

    There's being socially inept, there's having a lack of tact, and then there's Obama. Best prez ever!

    June 26, 2012 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  6. Getoverit

    Because this is important...

    June 26, 2012 03:18 am at 3:18 am |
  7. Marie MD

    It shows that the President has a fantastic sense of humor. He got a few boos but who wouldn't have done so when it comes to "sport" (oops, sorry sports).
    Sport is the bishop way of telling us that he likes "sport" because all of his friends own a team or two.

    June 26, 2012 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  8. works for me

    People have gotten way too serious... he was kidding. Lighten up... geeeze

    June 26, 2012 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  9. Charlie in Maine

    Your welcome, Mr President. I am a big Youklis fan and a Red Sox Fan. I hope he smacks a couple of triples when the Whits Sox come to Fenway next month, fo course I hope the White Sox lose. Speaking of losing I pray that our country does not lose you. OBAMA 2012!

    June 26, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  10. Charlie in Maine

    BTW they were not booing you. Sometimes we say "Youk" and it sounds like boo.

    June 26, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  11. Etch-A-Sketch Mitt RobMe Say_Nothing -Do_Nothing_Flip_n_Flopper VULTURE CAPITALIST

    we love still Barack!!!

    June 26, 2012 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  12. Willie12345

    Who cares ?

    June 26, 2012 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  13. stevefl00d

    They weren't booing Obama, they were saying "Yooooouuuuk..."

    June 26, 2012 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  14. rock123

    That's the truth. "Know your crowd", tell them what they want to hear. Win their votes. Then forget they ever were there. I think that's the way he has proven he acts. Yes he can, and will.

    June 26, 2012 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  15. Mike

    Mr. President can be glad he wasn't in Philly!

    June 26, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  16. Sandy

    Here in Boston when Youk's name is mentioned we say "Youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuk", which often sounds like boos. Most of them were saying that, not booing. Anyway it was polite booing, not angry booing. President has to know his audience better. LOL

    June 26, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  17. ObamaUnitl2016

    Red Sox nation supercedes politics... But it was all in jest, no harm no foul.

    June 26, 2012 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  18. Boston fan

    They weren't boo-ing – they were yelling "Yooouk" – which is the traditional greeting for Youkilis at Fenway !

    June 26, 2012 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  19. Joey Masciangioli

    No no no no no, CNN. I was there! The crowd was screaming 'Yooooouuuukkkkkk' which is a popular cry at baseball games for Youkilis. The President, and CNN reporters, only mistakenly thought the crowd was booing. Please correct!

    June 26, 2012 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  20. Aeromechanic

    I thought it was funny. An actual President who is a real guy who can actually joke AND mean it.

    June 26, 2012 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  21. NOT2BLUE

    Red Sox fans just doing what they do best...

    June 26, 2012 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  22. Crispy

    They weren't "booing," they were "Yoooooooooouking." Just like they did every time he came to the plate for the last 8 years.

    June 26, 2012 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  23. Pete

    They weren't booing. They were saying "Youk" just like they did at Fenway.

    June 26, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |