While House Democrats were gathering on Capitol Hill awaiting President Obama, a nail-biter game was taking place in the Big East Conference of the N.C.A.A. basketball tournament. St. Mary's beat favorite Villanova, 75 - 68, upsetting President Obama's picks for the Final Four. The President's remarks were supposed to start at 3:05p but at that time, the President was still in the Oval Office and the game was tied with ninty-seconds to go. The White House will not say if the President was watching the game but the timing was conspicuous to those waiting for him to depart.
Even Press Secretary Robert Gibbs who accompanied President Obama to Capitol Hill noted the loss on Twitter, "ouch - migh (sic) have jinxed the POTUS with last tweet...'Nova loss will sting..." Only two hours earlier, Gibbs tweeted that the President was doing very well in his brackets, having 25 of 32 games right.
Shortly after Villanova suffered defeat, the Presidential motorcade left for Capitol Hill and the business of passing health care. During his remarks, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) liken passing health care to the tournament saying, "we're in the last minute of play...they're [Republicans] trying to foul us, and foul us, and foul us, and foul us again...and soon as the buzzer sounds, there will be a clear winner. That winner will be the American people." The President spoke like a coach to his team of Democrats, telling them to pass this health care legislation not for him or themselves but for the American people.