"I've been told ... that we should look at Obama's interest in the tournament as evidence that he is a 'regular guy.' ...
"I believe a president is not a regular guy. He is responsible for the well being of a country of more than 300 million people. That puts him in a special category.
"I am reminded of a scene from The West Wing, in which Toby, the speechwriter, and Charlie, the president's personal aide, are talking about the president's marital problems. Toby observes that he has been married and can sympathize. 'It's a typical marriage,' Toby says. 'I've been there.'
"Charlie replies, 'Well, I haven't, but he's the president of the United States, so my guess is no, it's probably not a typical marriage.' "
March 19, 2009
Almost exactly two years ago, I wrote that Barack Obama had more important things to be doing than filling out his NCAA brackets.
But his approval rating was in the 60s, even though he hadn't been in office for two months, and unemployment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was at 9%. His supporters were in no mood to hear any criticism.
It's a sign that he's a regular guy, his supporters protested. He has a stressful job.
So I backed off.
Last March, unemployment was around 10.2%, and Obama's approval rating had been at or below 50% for months. Yet he still filled out his brackets, and much was made of that fact.
But I didn't mention it. I wrote about job creation and domestic hiring incentives, but I never mentioned the president's bracket picks — even though, personally, I doubted the wisdom of it and thought his party was certain to be hammered in the fall.
He had more important — and more urgent — things to be doing.
Well, here we go again.
Tim Gardner writes in USA Today that Obama has picked all four No. 1 seeds to advance to the Final Four — the equivalent of betting on all the favorites at the race track — and ESPN has posted each of Obama's picks.
Sure, unemployment is down — but not so much that Obama can relax.
Unless he wants to join the ranks of the unemployed. Then he'll have plenty of time to go over the brackets.