Sunday, February 5, 2012

Obama declines to make a Super Bowl pick

It's an election year with fans (and voters) on both sides of the issue, so it's not exactly a surprise that President Obama declined Sunday to pick a winner between the Patriots and Giants in his pre-Super Bowl interview with NBC's Matt Lauer.

"It's going to be a great game," the president said. "What the Giants have done, coming back from that tough situation in the middle of the season, has been pretty remarkable. (Patriots coach Bill) Belilchick and (quarterback Tom) Brady, they're always tough, so it's going to be a tough game."

Hearkening back to the Giants' win over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII in which David Tyree made a remarkable catch to keep the Giants' winning drive alive, the president said of Sunday's game, "I can't call it. It's going to be one of those (games) when it comes down to a turnover or some ball on somebody's helmet."

Lauer noted that the president didn't hesitate in picking the Steelers over the Cardinals in 2009, and he replied, "I think this is going to be a tough game. Both teams have their weaknesses. They're not as strong as they were, I think, a couple of years ago. When you look at the Patriots, their defense is a little shaky. The Giants have just come back (from a midseason slump). I can't tell you who is going to win this one."

Lauer noted that the Patriots win in 2004, followed by President Bush's re-election, and the Giants won in 2008, the year in which he was elected. He asked the president again for a prediction, and he laughed and said, "You're not going to get me. You're not going to get me. I'm going to look for a great game."

During his five-minute interview with Lauer, the president also discussed tensions between Israel and Iran, adding, "My number one priority continues to be the security of the United States, but also the security of Israel, and we are going to continue to work in lockstep as proceed to try to solve this, hopefully diplomatically."

He said he does not believe Iran has the "intentions or capabilities" to launch attacks within the United States and said the U.S. would take no options off the table while preferring a diplomatic solution.

Lauer also hearkened back to a 2009 pre-Super Bowl conversation in which the president said that if the economy were not up and rolling in three years that he could be a one-term president.

"I deserve a second term, but we're not done," Obama said.