Press calls foul on Obama's hoop dreams

Gibbs: This is as close as you get today.         (reuters)

Wedged in around meetings with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden, his daily briefings, meetings and lunch with some business leaders, President Obama has two basketball events today — both are closed press, meaning no pool reports or photos. In fact, Obama has no open press or pooled events today, which is fairly unusual for the high-visibility POTUS. From today's White House briefing:

Q: Robert, why are the basketball games closed-press?

MR. GIBBS: For — to protect the privacy and the statistics of any of those involved, I'm sure. (Laughter.) I've got to tell you, it's not something I've — but on behalf of this room —

Q: Would you consider opening —

MR. GIBBS: Probably not but I'll certainly take that under consideration.

What's the big secret? The first game is the National Naval Medical Center Marine Wounded Warrior game, on the White House basketball court. Obama is doing a drop-by, but you know he's going to get in there. Later on, a bunch of Cabinet secretaries and members of Congress are coming by for a game — and Obama is definitely playing in that one.

Q: The last thing: When the president plays basketball tonight, the list you put out has about 15 members of the Cabinet, Congress. They appear to all be men. Did the president invite any women to (play?)

MR. GIBBS: I'm — I've — I think your appearance on the list appears to be accurate. I would say that the point's well taken. The president obviously is someone who, as the father of two young daughters, is — has an avid interest in their competing against anybody on the playing field. The president's certainly played basketball and other sports with women in the past, and I anticipate he'll do so in the future.

And yes, America: Tim Geithner is bringing his A-game.

                         Three points!        (ap)

Beltway ConfidentialUS

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