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Obama NCAA Bracket Controversy

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Obama NCAA Bracket Cartoon

President Barack Obama was criticized for supposedly paying too much attention to the 2011 NCAA Tournament and not enough attention to world crises in Japan and Libya.

Cagle Cartoons
Updated March 23, 2011

President Barack Obama's NCAA bracket may have done well on paper in 2011, but it didn't sit well with critics. Call it The Great Obama NCAA Bracket Kerfuffle, or even Bracketgate.

Just don't call the unveiling of Obama's NCAA bracket good timing.

The president caught a generous amount of flak and withering late-night torment for going on ESPN to unveil his NCAA Tournament picks at a time when Japan was suffering the effects of a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and a nuclear crisis touched off by a tsunami, and while the U.S. was preparing a military campaign in Libya and lawmakers were doing battle over the budget.

"How can @BarackObama say he is leading when puts his NCAA bracket over the budget & other pressing issues?" Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus posted via his Twitter account.

Quipped comedian Jimmy Fallon: "President Obama went on ESPN to announce his NCAA tournament picks. Or, as Japan put it, 'Really?'"

Jay Leno piled on, too: "The situation is deteriorating in Libya and Japan and the stock market is collapsing worldwide. President Obama finally took decisive action. He named Duke, Kansas, Ohio State and Pittsburgh as his Final Four."

Someone should have called a foul, though, on Priebus, Fallon and Leno.

They failed to mention that before Obama unveiled his NCAA bracket he issued a call for Americans to stand with, and contribute to, the people of Japan. He encouraged basketball fans to visit usaid.gov to find reputable nonprofits and charities that are helping out there.

"I think that would be a great gesture, as you're filling out your brackets and can help out some people who are really going through a tough time," Obama said.

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