White House vows no ‘Youk-turn’ over baseball boos
ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE — The White House came out swinging Tuesday after President Barack Obama was lightheartedly booed in Boston over the trade of a top baseball star to his beloved Chicago White Sox.
Obama gently ribbed the fervent fans of the Boston Red Sox at a campaign event in Beantown on Monday night, thanking them for the trade of the hulking third baseman Kevin Youkilis to his hometown team.
Tweaking the pain of passionate Red Sox fans for whom Youkilis was a hero, Obama appeared tickled that he sparked some boos, even from loyal political supporters gathered in the Symphony Hall in Boston.
“I didn’t expect boos out of here,” Obama joked, before gently prodding the crowd again “I’m just saying, he had to change the color of his Sox.”
Laughing at the response to his jibes over Sunday’s trade, Obama joked “You have got to know your crowd!”
White House spokesman Jay Carney, who happens to be a keen Red Sox fan, came to the president’s defense aboard Air Force One on Tuesday.
“There has been some really silly reporting about the president’s remarks regarding Kevin Youkilis last night,” Carney said, tongue planted firmly in cheek.
“It is highly commendable in my view as a Red Sox Fan that the president has always refused to pander on sports,” he said, noting Obama had several times declined to wear the regalia of teams other than his Chicago favorites.
“He is a White Sox fan, he owns his fandom of the White Sox. He proved that again last night.”
“Anyone who knows Boston, knows the Red Sox, and anyone who was in that room last night knows that the preponderance of people shouting… were saying ‘Yoooook and not Boooo’ for God’s sake.”
“I don’t think the American people appreciate it when politicians suddenly pretend they are fans of other teams to curry favor.
“The president is very serious about that, he will not do that. He will not cross that line.”
Earlier, the campaign of Mitt Romney, Obama’s election opponent, sought to fan a narrative that the president had committed a faux pas by poking fun at Red Sox fans, in the the Republican’s home state.
“Maybe the president should have congratulated the team for winning the World Series in 2004 and 2007,” said the Romney campaign in a memo.
“Instead, he chose to mock them for trading away one of its favorite players at a time when the team is struggling.”
“Score that an error.”