Saturday, June 12, 2010

Suds n' Soccer: President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron Make A World Cup Wager

The Special Relationship inspires a Special Bet that ends in a draw...so will suds be exchanged on July 20? Press Secretary Gibbs, also a beer bettor, can advise...
UPDATE: The bet gets settled with an exchange of beers
The much-anticipated meeting of Team USA and Team England at the FIFA World Cup today ended with a score of 1-1. That's perhaps a good thing for President Obama, because he's now spared the public relations debacle of announcing which American beer is "the best," following a wager during a morning phone call with British Prime Minister David Cameron that staked "the best lager against the best beer in America on an American win over England."

The White House released the photo, above, of President Obama on the phone in the Oval Office, mid-bet with Cameron, and advised that the two world leaders "agreed to disagree on the desired outcome" of the game, but the President "noted that the historical record...favors the United States." So will suds be exchanged anyway when the two leaders meet on July 20, as Cameron makes his first official visit to Washington?

Before the match, President Obama also tweeted a message of encouragement to Team USA. Instead of being glued to the TV watching the World Cup, the President was in DC at daughter Malia's school, watching her play soccer.

Vice President Biden was at the USA-England Game...
President Obama did have history on his side during the wager with PM Cameron, however. In 1950, Team USA stunned erstwhile England 1-0 in the only previous World Cup meeting between the two national teams, at the games in Brazil.

Vice President Joe Biden and wife Jill Biden were at the US-England game today, sitting with a bevy of European and African leaders, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu (above).

Another White House beer bet
Gibbs himself has made his own international beer bet on sports, so he's in a good position to advise the President on the "right" course of action with Cameron. During the Winter Olympics, Gibbs bet his Canadian counterpart, Dimitri Soudas, that Team USA would beat Team Canada in hockey. Gibbs lost, and wound up wearing a Team Canada hockey jersey during a press briefing, and sending both a case of Molson Canadian and a case of Yuengling lager from Pottsville, Pennsylvania, America’s oldest brewery, to the Canadian Prime Minister’s office. Gibbs cheated a bit on the jersey wearing, however, but hey, that's politics. He had a team USA hockey jersey on under his Canadian jersey, and whipped off the Canadian jersey to reveal it (Above: Gibbs wearing the Canadian jersey...)

The President's beer of choice is Bud Light...but is that "America's best?"
The President quaffed Bud Light during last July's Beer Summit with Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sgt. James Crowley, and he also enjoyed its charms while hanging out at the MLB All Star Game, also last July. An admin official announced then that Bud Light is President Obama's beer of choice.

But is Bud "American?" While its still produced in Missouri, parent company Anheuser-Busch has now merged with Brazilian-Belgian beer maker InBev. In fact, the giant multi-national conglom is running an online reality show during the World Cup, called Bud House, which has 32 mad fans--one for each FIFA team--living together in a house in Cape Town, South Africa, for the month that the World Cup is going on. Free beer, free flowing, and 32 soccer fans ready to rumble? Awesome. Tune in to BudUnited to watch the riots.

Enough digressing. Today's 11 AM ET phone call was the President's first "substantive" conversation with Cameron, according to the White House, and they discussed international affairs, including the war in Afghanistan and the Gulf Coast oil spill. Their only other phone chat was a congratulatory call on May 22, after it was determined that Cameron had, in fact, unseated Prime Minister Gordon Brown. President Obama will see Cameron later this month at the G8/G20 meetings in Canada, before Cameron's visit to Washington.

*White House photo of POTUS by Pete Souza. Other photos Getty/pool.