Did President Obama Wait For the Texas-Oakland Game Before Commenting on Libya?

By Alex Weprin Comment

Did President Obama wait until the University of Texas-Oakland University NCAA basketball game was out of reach before making comments on the situation in Libya?

At 2 PM today, President Obama was scheduled to comment on Libya. 2 PM came and went without Obama, and there was no word from the White House on why there was a delay.

Finally, at around 2:20 PM, President Obama gave his brief remarks.

One of the three TV sets in the SportsNewser office was tuned to CBS, where a great game between Oakland and Texas was underway…

This got us thinking: was President Obama or his staff waiting for the game to end, or at least become out of reach, before making the statement on Libya?

As it happened, Obama ended up making his remarks right as the game became more or less unwinnable for Oakland, with Texas securing an eight point lead with about 30 seconds left to play.

CBS stations across the country–including those in San Francisco and Austin–went to a split-screen, with half the screen carrying the remarks, and the other half carrying the end of the game (see above).

There are actually a number of reasons why the President would wait on the game before making the remarks.

The biggest is that he wants the largest possible audience to see it, and there were no guarantees that CBS–which probably has the most viewers of any network at 2 PM today– would carry the comments if the basketball game was close.

Yesterday, for example, CBS only carried parts of his comments on Japan, and did so after the fact during a commercial break.

The other, more insidious (and probably unlikely) reason, is that Obama or his staff were watching the game, and wanted to see how their brackets would end up before moving on to the next order of business.

President Obama did pick Texas to win the game, FYI.

Of course, he also simply could have been running late from a prior engagement.