Obama: "We’re The Miami Heat, and He's Jeremy Lin"

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 3 2012 1:21 PM

"We’re The Miami Heat, and He's Jeremy Lin"

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President Barack Obama waves to the crowd after speaking at a Grassroots Rally on September 2, 2012 on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder

Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images.

The New York Times has an interesting front-page look at President Obama and his overly competitive ways today. Here's a snippet:

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

"Four years ago, Barack Obama seemed as if he might be a deliberate professor of a leader, maybe with a touch of Hawaiian mellowness. He has also turned out to be a voraciously competitive perfectionist. ... Mr. Obama’s will to win — and fear of losing — is in overdrive. He is cramming for debates against an opponent he has called 'ineffective,' raising money at a frantic pace to narrow the gap with Mr. Romney and embracing the do-anything-it-takes tactics of an increasingly contentious campaign. ...
"But even those loyal to Mr. Obama say that his quest for excellence can bleed into cockiness and that he tends to overestimate his capabilities. The cloistered nature of the White House amplifies those tendencies, said Matthew Dowd, a former adviser to President George W. Bush, adding that the same thing happened to his former boss. 'There’s a reinforcing quality,' he said, a tendency for presidents to think, I’m the best at this."
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The whole thing—which is full of details on everything from the president's improved bowling skills to his debate prep; from his overly theatrical readings of children's books to his rather odd habit of telling new hires he can do their job better than they can—is worth your read.

And, if you make it all the way to the end, you get these remarks along the way, which the president apparently delivered to a group of Democratic governors back in February to sum up just how confident he was his campaign team would be able to react to anything Mitt Romney threw at them:

"No matter what moves Mr. Romney made, the president said, he and his team were going to cut him off and block him at every turn. 'We’re the Miami Heat, and he’s Jeremy Lin,' Mr. Obama said, according to the aide."*

(For non-NBA fans: Lin, who took the league by storm with his bench-player-to-global-icon ascent last year, didn't do so well in a February match-up with a team that included LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, two of the league's best defenders.)

*Clarification: This post has been updated to make it clearer that the quote being attributed to Obama came via an aide recounting the incident to the paper.

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