Category Archives: Barack Obama

Auriemma, Ollie Take A Call From The Boss

by Categorized: Barack Obama, Geno Auriemma Date:

Nope, not Bruce Springsteen. Nope, not even Susan Herbst.

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama called Geno Auriemma and Kevin Ollie to congratulate both teams on their national championships.

The President,who is now practically on a first name basis with Geno, commended Ollie and his team on their decisive championship victory and noted that he enjoyed watching the team throughout their tournament run.

On the call with Auriemma, the President expressed how impressive it’s been to see the team continue to dominate the field and commended him on yet another [nine] championship win.

The President told both he looks forward to congratulating their teams at the White House in the coming months. Rabbit Ears, Bunny Ears, Cottontail Caper Redux

by Categorized: Barack Obama, POTUS, UConn women's basketball Date:

Thanks to the magic of Facebook, I just discovered this lighthearted video review of the infamous Cottontail caper perpetrated on the POTUS during the visit to the White House in July by the national championship UConn women’s team.

Watch this report from the day and relive the moment that likely will continue to reproduce as time goes on – just like bunnies do.


Kelly Faris Wants Everyone To Know “Bunny Ears” Was All In Fun

by Categorized: Barack Obama, Kelly Faris, SNY, Stefanie Dolson, UConn women's basketball Date:

By Thursday night, Kelly Faris was pretty fed up with the questions and second-guessing that’s taken place about what happened at the White House Thursday when UConn visited the President.

To repeat: Stefanie Dolson and Kiah Stokes, in a light-hearted gesture the President consented to after some playful prodding, flashed the bunny ears sign over Barack Obama’s head during the formal photo session following the reception to honor the team’s national championship.

“Ok, when you look at it in the past tense you say you probably shouldn’t do that,” Faris said Thursday night. “But honestly, everyone was just kind of joking about it. It was no big deal to anyone. The President was having fun with it and eventually said, ‘Ok then, just do it.’

“he President is someone who will just walk into a room, especially with a group of athletes, and just keep things lighthearted.”

Earlier in the evening, Dolson told blogger Carl Adamec Thursday that she meant no disrespect when she and Stokes flashed the infamous “bunny ears.”

“President Obama’s a light-hearted guy,” Dolson said. “He was making jokes, cracking jokes at Coach [Geno Auriemma], even during his speech he was joking around. When we posed for the picture he turned around and kind of said, ‘Don’t go doing those bunny ears as a joke.’ Me, Kiah, and Stewie (Breanna Stewart) were like, ‘Should we do it?’ We took the nice pictures and then as a joke we put our fingers behind his ears. I thought it was funny. Overall, I thought it was a good time.

“Obviously there are people that thought it was disrespectful. I meant no disrespect towards the president. I hope he knows that and I hope everyone else knows that. It was a joke. When people see the video and know why I did it, they’ll understand that. And people that know me, that know what kind of person I am, know I would never disrespect any person like that.”

“I didn’t think anything of it until I heard about some of the reaction,” Dolson said. “Watching the video, it made me realize why I did it.”

On Thursday, Dolson did not deny doing something playful.

“I did indeed [do it],” she told the Courant. “He [Obama] said we wouldn’t do it. So we did.”

A UConn spokesman told the Courant Thursday that neither Geno Auriemma or Chris Dailey, UConn';s associate coach. were upset with any of the players.

“They were there. They saw and heard everything that went on,” the spokesman said.”They are not upset at all.”

Getting To The Bottom Of The Cottontail Caper: The Nation Is All “Ears”

by Categorized: Barack Obama, Kiah Stokes, Stefanie Dolson, UConn women's basketball Date:

Let me begin by saying that I did not actually witness the Cottontail Caper go down at the White House Wednesday afternoon.

  I was to the right to the President, inside the golden ropes that lined the golden seats laid in pristine rows in The Blue Room. This was moments before Mr. Obama would take official photos with UConn’s official traveling crew.

 To be honest, I was sandwiched as tightly as a slice of mozzarella in a Panini by other media members, much of my sightline obscured. What I could see was the battery about dead in my cell phone, silenced to a whisper by my attempts to be reporter, still photographer and videographer on a very busy news day.

 So, when the phone rang and hour later in my hotel room  – yes, I had plugged it in – and my boss asked me if there was anything about UConn’s Stefanie Dolson giving the President “bunny ears” I was somewhat confused.

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Presidential “Bunny Ears” Makes Its Way To The London Daily Mail

by Categorized: Barack Obama, Kiah Stokes, Stefanie Dolson, UConn women's basketball Date:

What can you expect in this day and age of swift moving social media?

Before the presidential reception for the UConn women began Wednesday at the White House, Jim Fuller of the New Haven Register, Kerith Burke of SNY and I were watching the assembled press corps getting ready to set up their cameras and take their positions to film and photograph the meet-and-greet with the basketball program

It seemed to us there were a lot of cameras for what seemed to be a pretty average event, certainly by Washington standards.

I asked one of the videographers from CNN if he ever gets bored shooting these orchestrated events, which happen all the time at the White House, The president and First Lady are always greeting individuals, groups, dignitaries and sports teams. People shake hands, say nice things, exchange presents – you get the idea.

The photographer said ‘Not really, you never know what can happen.”

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Barack Obama’s Comments At UConn Reception

by Categorized: Barack Obama, UConn women's basketball Date:

THE PRESIDENT: Everybody have a seat. Everybody have a seat. Welcome to the White House, everybody. Congratulations to the NCAA Champion UConn Huskies. (Applause.) Congratulations to Coach Auriemma on your record-tying eighth national championship. (Applause.) I see this guy too much. (Laughter.) Keep in mind, a lot of Presidents don’t even get eight years in the White House. (Laughter.) He’s spent more time than some Presidents in the White House. (Laughter.) And he’s not term-limited, so he can just keep on going.

We’ve got UConn President, Susan Herbst is here. (Applause.) Where did she go? There she is up here. I wasn’t sure where she was sitting. We’ve got some outstanding Huskies fans in the house, including several proud members of your congressional delegation. So give them a big round of applause. (Applause.)

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The President And Geno: A Grand Time Was Had By All

by Categorized: Barack Obama, Geno Auriemma, UConn women's basketball Date:

  Geno Auriemma and Barack Obama, the President of the United States, renewed acquaintances Wednesday in the East Room of the White House. And you would have thought they were fraternity brothers.

 Nope, this was nothing like a lunch with Speaker of the House John Boehner.

   “I see this guy too much,” said President Barack Obama upon greeting the UConn women’s basketball coach Wednesday at the East Room of the White House. “You know, there are a lot of presidents who don’t last eight years in the White House. He’s spent more time here than some presidents do.”

   Winning eight national titles has turned the White House into a summer timeshare for the UConn women’s basketball program. Some years they visit, some years they don’t, just like most American families.

  “And the reason we are here is all because of basketball,” said UConn junior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis. “If not the national championship we wouldn’t be meeting the president. It’s not an opportunity that everyone gets and had it because of basketball. It’s been quite an experience already.”

   For UConn, its last visit was in 2010.

   “I missed you guys,” Obama said.

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The White House: UConn’s Yearly Timeshare

by Categorized: Barack Obama, Breanna Stewart, Geno Auriemma, UConn women's basketball, USA Basketball Date:

   Since 1995, Geno Auriemma has grasped the hand of three sitting presidents of the United States. That’s the kind of access freshmen congressmen likely wish they had with their boss.

   Yes, winning eight national titles has turned the White House into a summer timeshare for the UConn women’s basketball program. Some years they visit, some years they don’t, just like most American families.

    But what’s clear is the winning culture that’s evolved since Auriemma began coaching at UConn in 1985 has made these trips both comfortable and familiar. When the names Auriemma and Wooden are used in the same sentence, and they are so frequently these days, you have a feeling there will always be an open invitation to visit.

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Kelly Faris Back With UConn – Today And For All Time

by Categorized: Barack Obama, Connecticut Sun, Kelly Faris, UConn women's basketball Date:

Kelly Faris, a pragmatic thinker if there ever was one, could look at Wednesday’s trip to the White House with the UConn women’s basketball team as the end of her time with the program. One final handshake.

  Truth is, Faris, Heather Buck and Caroline Doty all played their final game for Geno Auriemma in New Orleans in April. And its that win over Louisville in the national championship game that brings the team together once again to be feted by President Barack Obama.

   But Faris, now a rookie guard with the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, doesn’t look at the ceremony as a formal goodbye to an institution that took her to four Final Fours and helped her win two championships. Continue reading