President Obama Makes Surprise Visit to Congressional Baseball Game

President Obama walks across the field as he attends the annual Congressional Baseball Game between the Democrats and Republicans in Congress at Nationals Park in Washington on June 11, 2015. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
President Obama walks across the field as he attends the annual Congressional Baseball Game between the Democrats and Republicans in Congress at Nationals Park in Washington on June 11, 2015. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

President Obama took his latest congressional charm offensive to the ballpark Thursday night, visiting the annual Congressional Baseball Game as Republicans battled Democrats on the field.

The president arrived at Nationals Park shortly after 8 p.m, which gave him “the opportunity to watch part of the game and visit with the elected officials in attendance,” according to a White House official.

Obama, who is facing what is perhaps the most important vote of his second term as the House weighs whether to grant him trade promotion authority Friday, visited both parties’ dugouts during the course of an inning. The president is particularly wooing Democrats, who are largely opposed to the measure: he first visited with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and the Democrats’ team manager Rep. Dan Kildee (Mich.).

The White House has been targeting Congressional Black Caucus members as part of its lobbying campaign, and Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) — a senior CBC member — remained at Obama’s side for most of his visit.

As he approached onlookers, the president asked them, “Are we having fun yet?”

After mingling for half an inning with Democrats, Obama went over to the Republican dugout to chat with lawmakers, where the trade bill enjoys considerable support. He shook hands with anyone who offered a hand.

Even Republican fans — largely staff and lawmakers who aren’t playing — cheered and chanted “TPA” — the acronym for the trade measure. Democratic fans chanted “O-BAM-A.”

Obama stayed for roughly 15 minutes; it marked the first time in recent memory that a president had attended the annual congressional faceoff.

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SOURCE: Juliet Eilperin and Paul Kane
The Washington Post

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