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Obama’s Beer Was Cold, Yet Not Influential

Obama made a surprise appearance. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Obama made a surprise appearance. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Like any thoughtful guest dropping by unannounced, President Barack Obama brought some homebrews with him when he dropped by the 54th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game.  

“I’m told he brought some special beverage just to your side,” Rep. Joe L. Barton, the GOP squad’s manager, said at the baseball players’ after party, addressing the victorious Democrats in Nationals Park’s Club Level MVP lounge. “You got to vote for TPA now,” the Texas Republican added. Barton was referring to the Trade Promotion Authority package that would, about 18 hours later, be voted down in the House chamber. The legislation, confusingly assembled and the latest congressional Rorschach test for members, made for strange political bedfellows, with GOP stalwarts such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Ways and Means Chairman Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin praising Obama for his pitches on TPA and Democratic lions roaring it would kill jobs. At Thursday’s baseball game, Republicans in the stand greeted Obama with chants of “T-P-A, T-P-A, T-P-A.”  

Obama rolled the beer into the Democrats’ dugout in a light blue and white ice chest that looked like it could have been purchased at Odd Lots. The word “Res” adorned the top, perhaps missing a “P.” Inside, unmarked brown beer bottles with a signature “B” bottle cap chilled. Coaches fretted that the Donkey Squad would pop a few cold ones before the night’s business was done.  

Some home brew from the White House. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)
Some home brew from the White House. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

“Here it is, the fourth inning, and I’m thinking, ‘We don’t need beers. We need runs!'” said Joe Foley, a long-time coach whose tenure with the Democrats stretches back to his time as a staffer in the 1970s for the late Rep. Bill Chappell, D-Fla.  

The Republicans were threatening at the time of POTUS’ promenade, with Democrats clinging to a 2-1 lead. That wasn’t lost on Barton. “I tell you, men on first and second, no outs. And then you pull the old President Obama-visits-the-game trick,” Barton said dryly as the beer started to flow. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., struck out to end the inning, stranding those two men on second and third.  

But while the president might have helped the Democrats’ efforts on the field — they went on to win 5-2 — the goodwill trip to the diamond swayed few when it came to trade.  

“I told the president I’m going to need more than beer to vote for TPA,” said Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., the Democrats’ skipper. Then the Democrats drank the rest of his beer and mostly voted against him.


Democrats Win Seventh Straight Congressional Baseball Game Homebrewers Urge Obama to Keep at it See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call’s new video site. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.