Covering Washington politics. From our vantage point. One day a time.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Saints Come Marching In (To the White House)

The Saints came marching into the White House today as President Obama honored the 2009 Super Bowl Champions with a warm and friendly reception in the East Room of the White House.

2009 Super Bowl Champs New Orleans Saints with President Obama at the White House. Photo/CD Brown.

The president admonished the team and its owner for winning the Super Bowl after the city was devasted by Hurricane Katrina.

The president, still not relinquishing his love and loyalty to his hometown Chicago teams, said, ”Look, I’m a Bears fan. I’m not going to lie. But this was a big win for the country, not just for New Orleans, because five years ago, this team played its entire season on the road. It didn’t have a home field. The Superdome had been ruined by Hurricane Katrina. The heartbreaking tragedies that unfolded there when it was used as a shelter from that terrible storm lingered all too fresh in a lot of people’s minds.”

President Obama said the team carried their city.

“Plenty of cities carry their sports teams through a tough season. It’s a rare thing when a sports team carries a city through tough times."

The president’s remarks come just days after the BP oil spill that saturated most of the Gulf Coast has been contained and cleaned.

“I made a commitment to the people of the Gulf Coast that I would stand by them not just until the well was closed but until they recovered from the damage that’s been done. And that’s a commitment my administration is going to keep.”

After his remarks the president was honored by the Saints with a ceremonial New Orleans Saints jersey, with the number 44 embossed. The number 44, for the 44th president of the United States, from the champions of SuperBowl XLIV (44). (A once in a lifetime event).

New Orleans Cuisine At The White House
What would a visit to the White House by a New Orleans guest be without savoring some of its cuisine? White chef Sam Kass was busy preparing savory, southern samples.

“I can tell you that our staff is excited about the 30-foot po’ boy we’re serving at lunch today”, said Obama.

That wasn’t the only item being served up. 

In a surprise visit to the James Brady briefing room, Kass and a few Saints players, Nick Leckey, Garrett Hartley and Bobby McCray, bought in a sausage and Gulf shrimp skewer for the media to taste. The dish was prepared with glazed Creole mustard, honey, a hint of bourbon.

Note: We’re told by a New Orleans resident that oysters aren’t as plentiful after the Gulf oil spill, but the shrimp and fish are good for the eating.

A 2010 Repeat?
We asked Saint’s Zack Strief if the team is ready for the season, and if fans can expect a repeat this NFL season.

“We’re getting ready”, said the 6-7, 320 lb tackle. “We’re going to do our best to repeat. We’re definitely going to give it a shot.”

Saints In the Community
The Saints have been busy in their community especially with the youth. They have partnered with the Eleanor McMain Secondary School in New Orleans where they have helped renovate the athletic facilities.

The Saints also help train and assist students with the proper fitting of football equipment.

Today at the White House the team held a youth football clinic with children from the Boys and Girls Club as part of the Let’s Move and the NFL’s Play60 program. QB Drew Brees serves as co-chair of the new President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

After visiting the White House the players went to Walter Reed Hospital to spend some time with wounded warriors who served our country.

White House chef Sam Kass and Saints players with New Orleans style cuisine. Photo/CD Brown.
"It was an amazing opportunity and a great experience to meet the president, said Steif. “A very cool situation for us, and we're excited to the meet the wounded warriors.”

Visiting the White House and meeting the president would be the Saints’ second huge event to start off this week. Yesterday, former New Orleans Saints LB Rickey Jackson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

After it was all said and done, the team got to see President Obama take off on Marine One on his way to Dallas where he delivered remarks at a DNC fund raiser event.

On a personal note, I've never seen Reggie Bush smile so much.

Not even KK could make him smile as much as seeing President Obama taking off on in Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House.

I know the feeling. It's special each time I see it too.

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