President Barack Obama may be a Chicago Bears fan at heart. But at least on Thursday, the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers were his football favorites.
The president celebrated the Steelers’ title at a White House ceremony.
“It’s no secret that I was pulling for the Steelers during the Super Bowl,” Obama said. “That’s part of the reason why this is so much fun for me.”
The president and the players also spent time meeting with wounded U.S. service members and assembling care packages for troops serving overseas.
The Steelers are “generous with their time for charity and for their communities,” Obama said.
Joining the president on the sunny afternoon on the White House lawn were Pennsylvania’s two Democratic senators, Bob Casey and Arlen Specter, along with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, whom Obama called “a maniacal Pittsburgh Steeler fan.”
During the presidential election, Steelers owner Dan Rooney, a lifelong Republican, campaigned for Obama in Pennsylvania, a key battleground state. In March, Obama named Rooney U.S. ambassador to Ireland.
Harrison skipped out on the traditional ceremony, just as he did when the Steelers were honored by President George W. Bush at the White House in June 2006.
Harrison’s fear of flying may have played a role in his decision, though Harrison joked that the White House isn’t in one of Washington’s safer areas.
“It’s not a good neighborhood over there,” Harrison said. “It’s a bad neighborhood.”