"I just want to say thank you for Youkilis," said Obama at the beginning of a fundraiser at Boston's Symphony Hall Monday night, of third baseman Kevin Youkilis's recent trade to the
Chicago White Sox. "I'm just saying. He’s going to have to change the color of his 'sox.' "
"I didn’t think I’d get any "boos" out of here, but I guess I shouldn’t have — I should not have brought up baseball. I understand. My mistake," Obama added, according to remarks released by the White House.
Although baseball is somewhat of a sacred subject in Boston, the boos appeared mostly friendly in nature.
"We still love you," said an audience member to laughter an applause, according to White House remarks.
The popular baseman was traded to the Chicago White Sox in a deal for relief pitcher Zach Stewart and utility fielder Brent Lillibridge on Sunday.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's campaign used the incident to slam the president for "taunting" Red Sox fans in their home town.
"Last night in Boston, President Obama went to the heart of Red Sox nation and committed an error by taunting fans over the Kevin Youkilis trade to the Chicago White Sox," said spokeswoman Andrea Saul in an email to reporters. "The Red Sox have suffered many setbacks over the years — the Babe Ruth trade, the ball through Buckner’s legs, the Bucky Dent home run. Maybe the President should have congratulated the team for winning the World Series in 2004 and 2007. Instead, he chose to mock them for trading away one of its favorite players at a time when the team is struggling."
The Republican National Committee (RNC) also blasted Obama for "mocking" Red Sox fans.
"Obama got himself booed at a Boston fundraiser last night mocking Red Sox fans for trading Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox. You’d think after Martha Coakley and other sports fumbles Obama would have known better," said an email sent by RNC spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski Tuesday.
White House press secretary Jay Carney hit back, calling reports that the president was booed at the campaign stop "really silly."
"There has been some really silly reporting about the president’s remarks regarding Kevin Youkilis last night. It is highly commendable in my view as a Red Sox fan that the president has always refused to pander on sports," said Carney during a press briefing Tuesday. "He is a White Sox fan, he owns his fandom of the White Sox. He proved that again last night."
Read more on Carney's response, including why he argued the boos weren't really boos at all, on The Hill's Blog Briefing Room.