President Treats UK Prime Minister to March Madness

By: From CBS News, Posted by Ralph Hipp
By: From CBS News, Posted by Ralph Hipp

DAYTON, Ohio (CBS) -- President Obama accompanied British Prime Minister David Cameron to the latter's first-ever basketball game on Tuesday night -- the opening game in the NCAA men's basketball tournament between Western Kentucky and Mississippi Valley State in Dayton, Ohio.

Mr. Obama and his U.K. counterpart spoke to CBS Sports analyst Clark Kellogg at halftime, where Cameron said he was enjoying the game - though he said "it's hard to follow sometimes exactly who's done what wrong."

Cameron said Mr. Obama had been giving him tips on what was happening in the game, adding, "he's going to help me fill out my bracket."

Mr. Obama quipped that in return, Cameron is "going to teach me cricket. Because I don't understand what's going on with that cricket thing."

Asked for his analysis on the first half of the low-scoring game, Mr. Obama said "both teams are shooting terribly."

"It may be nerves, these are not teams that normally end up coming to the tournament," he said, before suggesting the game will come down to which team gets open outside shots.

Later, Mr. Obama took the opportunity to sing the praises of the swing state of Ohio, saying he was glad he had been able to bring Cameron to the state.

"I thought it was going to be wonderful for the prime minister to have a chance not only to see a basketball game for the first time, but also to come to the great state of Ohio," said Mr. Obama. "Because sometimes when we have foreign visitors they're only visiting the coasts. They go to New York, they go to Washington, they go to Los Angeles. But, you know, the heartland is what it's all about."

Asked about his Alma mater Harvard making the tournament, Mr. Obama said the excitement generated has been "terrific" - but added that "How far they can go is another question."

The president, who publicly fills out a bracket every year, acknowledged that he would not have much of a chance to watch the rest of the tournament, telling Kellogg, "I probably will not see more than the Final Four, and even that I may end up seeing in snippets."

He went on to say that the tournament garners so much attention every year because every team that gets in believes it could make it all the way to the championship game.

"Part of what makes this wonderful is not only that anybody, at least at the start of the tournament, has a dream about winning it, but the way it brings the country together and families and communities, people rooting for their Alma matter," said Mr. Obama, before noting that he was picking Kellogg's Alma mater, Ohio State, to make the Final Four. "Everybody, including these two teams, are thinking, 'maybe I'll be the Cinderella this year,' and that's what makes it a great tournament."


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