By Justin Sink - 07/25/13 05:32 PM EDT
The Obama Administration drafted the Washington Nationals' most beloved racing president for their campaign to promote ObamaCare’s health insurance exchanges that will open later this year.
The Teddy Roosevelt mascot, known for — until last year — never winning one of the presidential races at the Washington ball club's home games, appeared in a video with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to promote the exchanges.
An administration official said that there was no official partnership between the club and the department, but that the video was filmed in conjunction with "HHS Night" at the ballpark, when employees of the department were offered tickets at a discounted group rate.
"As part of the annual HHS group outing to the Nationals game, the Nationals incorporated the HHS community into the evening in several ways, as they do with other large group events. Our participation included the opportunity to throw out the first pitch and create a PSA for use exclusively on the big screen on that night,” HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters told The Wall Street Journal.
A Nationals spokeswoman told the paper there were no additional plans to use the video.
It's not the first time that HHS has tried to use professional sports to promote the exchanges. Sebelius said in June that the department was "enthusiastically engaged" in talks with the NL to feature the program as it rolled out during football season.
But after Republican senators complained, the NFL issued a statement saying it did not plan to assist in the outreach effort.
Earlier this week, President Obama met with celebrities — including Amy Poehler and Kal Penn — at the White House, seeking their support in similar promotional campaigns.