President Obama brought up a sore subject for many Clevelanders during an interview with a local television station Monday: LeBron James.
Obama talked to Cleveland's WEWS-TV to tout the auto bailouts and defend his administration's economic policies, but he brought up the subject of the former Cleveland Cavaliers star James unsolicited just as he sat down for the interview, according to the station.
James — a native of nearby Akron, Ohio — left Cleveland via free agency last off-season and signed with the Miami Heat, announcing on national television that he is "taking his talents to South Beach."
The decision was reviled by Cleveland fans, who viewed the move as a slight by their hometown hero. The Heat is now playing in the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks.
“Is Cleveland still rooting against Miami?” the president asked WEWS reporter Leon Bibb.
“Yeah, we're working on that,” replied Bibb, who reportedly chuckled before asking Obama, a basketball fanatic, which team he thinks will win the NBA Finals.
Obama said he expects the Heat to win the title.
The president, however, spent the rest of the interview talking about subjects that might better appeal to voters in the key swing state of Ohio.
“With regard to the auto industry, I feel very good about what’s happening,” Obama said, explaining that American auto giants Chrysler and General Motors may have had to shut their doors if not for the U.S. government's auto bailouts. "We not only helped them out, but we also said you have to restructure. You have to rethink the way you do business."