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SBD/September 7, 2011/Sports in Society
Four NASCAR Drivers To Miss White House Visit Due To Scheduling Conflicts
Published September 7, 2011
POL POSITION: In Charlotte, Jim Utter wrote, “While I certainly think it’s to NASCAR’s benefit to have its drivers appear in such functions, forcing those to go who wish to maintain prior commitments sends an equally poor public relations message.” Utter noted although Edwards will miss today’s visit, he “actually makes at least four visits to the White House each year as a member of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.” Edwards said, “I think that’s blown a little bit out of proportion. I proudly serve on the President’s Council for Fitness Sports and Nutrition. I spend a lot of time with Secretary Sebelius and Shellie Pfohl and all the folks up there at the White House.” He added, “This is not only the busiest time of the year, this is about the busiest time of my life and the folks at the White House, I spoke with them. They understand and the NASCAR folks understand" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/4). In Orlando, George Diaz wrote, “No doubt that NASCAR has red-state roots, and President Obama isn't likely to find a lot of supporters among a small contingent of very rich guys who drive fast cars and appreciate whatever tax break they can get.” Diaz: “But as usual, there are two sides to this story. The White House didn't send out the invitations until recently. And yes, even NASCAR drivers have busy schedules. It's not as if they do nothing but eat Cheez Whiz until they get into a race car on weekends” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 9/5).
HOST WITH THE MOST: In Charlotte, Tim Funk noted the Bobcats and NFL Panthers may “play a role in helping Charlotte shine” when the city hosts the Democratic National Convention next year. Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson “made it clear he'd be a willing host if the president is looking for a place to give his acceptance speech.” Richardson said, "President Obama, I'm sure, will be making his speech in our stadium." Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx “offered yet another possible photo op for convention week,” suggesting a “friendly basketball game pitting Obama and former Duke basketball star Reggie Love -- a native Charlottean who's now the president's aide -- against” himself and Bobcats Owner Michael Jordan (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/4).