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Obama Punts on European Football But Tackles British Politics

President Obama resisted stirring up controversy over European football Wednesday but willingly gave his ally Gordon Brown some timely political advice.

At a news conference in London, a reporter from the Sun newspaper asked Obama whether he had a good luck message for the English team - who faces the Ukraine Wednesday evening in a World Cup qualifying match. 

Noting that he did not receive a briefing about the match, Obama explained that he had stirred up "all kinds of controversy" in picking his brackets for March Madness back home, so "the last thing I'm going to do is wade into European football."

But politics was something the president would not shy away from. That same intrepid reporter wondered whether the American president had any advice for the British prime minister who faces a tough election next year.

"The only advice I would give Gordon Brown is the same advice that I gave myself during the campaign and that I've been giving myself over the last three months, which is over time good policy is good politics," Obama said.

 "[I]f every day you're waking up saying, how can I make the best possible decisions to create jobs, help young people imagine a better future, provide care to the sick or the elderly or the vulnerable, sustain the planet -- if those are the questions that you're asking yourself, then I think you end up doing pretty good," he said.

So what else did the two leaders share with one another? Fitness tips, according to Brown. 

"I've benefited from Barack's advice not just about elections, but about fitness ... not the treadmill of politics, but the treadmill that we're both on every day, the running machines, and how you can manage to do that when you're traveling around the world and going to different countries, and we've been exchanging ideas," he told the chuckling press corps.

This was the second meeting between the president and the British prime minister since Obama took office.