President Obama's March Madness picks are an annual tradition that's almost as reliable as the right wing's annual freak-out over Obama's March Madness picks. This shouldn't help matters much.
On Tuesday morning, I was hanging around the White House briefing room when I noticed a large gathering of people and equipment gathering for some kind of event. The place had been crawling with visiting Irish press all day because Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Enda Kenny met with the President, but he had already left the building (with a modest entourage of three and a single SUV). As it turns out, the crew of around 20 people and what looked like a ton of equipment were all there to facilitate ESPN's Baracketology coverage. Take a look:
Prime Minister Kenny spoke with reporters after his meeting with President Obama, but since the PM is something of a quiet-talker, that stakeout mainly affords an opportunity to strain your ears while you listen to helicopter noises. He took several quetions, including one about immigration reform, and expressed disappointment at the court decision that has put President Obama's executive action on hold. See how much of this you can make out. I goosed the audio, but that also made the helicopters louder:
"There's a court case pending at the moment, so the process following his own executive action as president have stalled, and that's a disappointment. I can't obviously comment on the outcome of the court decision, but the President's very well aware, and has been briefed recently by Ambassador Anne (Anderson), on the difficulties as far as the Irish are concerned."
The PM spoke for about six minutes in total, but the whole stakeout was so rushed, the PM's SUV was creeping into place to whisk him away while he was still speaking. On St. Patrick's Day in the U.S., he's as close to a rock star as any world leader gets. Except for Barack Obama, perhaps.