He probably didn't want to do it, but form and style dictated that President Barack Obama, a longtime Chicago Bears fan, welcomed the Green Bay Packers to the White House for the annual visit from the best in the NFL. Before beating the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-25, in Super Bowl XLV, the Pack beat the Bears, 21-14, in the NFC championship game at Chicago's Soldier Field. The ceremony was delayed because of the lockout, but the Packers, who were well aware of Obama's fandom, finally got to meet their "nemesis."
"I'm just gonna come out and say it," Obama said, during a day that saw some cheesehead-wearing people on the White House lawn. "This hurts a little bit. This is a hard thing for a Bears fan to do. It doesn't hurt as much as the NFC championship game hurt, but it still hurts."
But no bad feelings lingered. Obama praised the Packers for winning the Super Bowl despite a slew of injuries, and noted all the things the team does in the community.
Then, it was time for some good-natured trash-talk. Packers cornerback Charles Woodson(notes) presented the President with stock in the NFL's only publicly-held team, a minority ownership Obama then tried to use to his advantage.
"It hurts us a little bit to give you this, but we're giving you shares in the Green Bay Packers," Woodson said. To which Obama replied, "If I'm a part-owner, I think we should initiate a trade to send [quarterback Aaron] Rodgers down to the Bears."
No word on how Bears quarterback Jay Cutler(notes), a man used to off-handed jabs at his on-field performance, feels about that. The Packers also gave Obama a personalized jersey he's almost certain not to wear too often.
"Enjoy it while it lasts, because Bears fans have two dates circled on our calendars: September 25, and Sunday Night Football on Christmas Day," the President concluded. "And if you guys are on a roll by then, just keep in mind that there's one person here who can ground all planes coming in and out of Green Bay if he has to!"
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