President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are hosting a Super Bowl party for about 150 at the White House, with Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony among those on the guest list. But before kick-off on Sunday, the president is sitting down for a live interview with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly.
The First Couple's Super Bowl bash is expected to be the biggest of the three game-day parties the White House has put on since Obama took office. On Saturday too, a sporting event was on the agenda. Obama headed to Chevy, Chase, Md., a close-in Washington suburb, to watch his youngest daughter, Sasha, play in a basketball game at a community center.
O'Reilly, who conducts live interviews almost nightly on his top rated talk show the O'Reilly Factor, outlined the challenges he faces in interviewing a president -- and keeping him out of the so-called Spin Zone -- in a column he posted on his website.
"The chat is scheduled to last about 12 minutes and is fraught with danger. For me, not for the president. That's because the rules are different when it comes to interviewing the President of the United States. Since the beginning of our republic, only 44 men have held that office, and when a citizen is in the presence of the Chief Executive, there is strict protocol. For example, he is addressed as "Mr. President." No one says, "Yo, Barack, how you doin'?" There is a respect for the office that formalizes all conversation," O'Reilly wrote.
"...Back in September 2008, I interviewed then-Senator Obama on the campaign trail. There was no protocol involved, except for civility. I asked Mr. Obama a series of specific questions and interrupted him if he didn't answer them directly. I had 30 minutes of his time and made them count because I could say pretty much what I wanted to say.
"But that was then. On Sunday, I can ask the president valid questions, but he doesn't have to answer them. He can say what he wants. If I interrupt him too much, I look like a dope. And with only 12 minutes to work with, I have to frame my questions with precision. The president is an eloquent man; he can easily run out the clock if he wants to. Also, the interview is live, so there's no editing. In other words, there's nowhere to hide if things don't go well."
Now, back to the Super Bowl party.
Obama had said he would attend the Super Bowl if the Chicago Bears were playing, but a loss to Green Bay means he'll watch the Dallas match-up between the Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers from home on Pennsylvania Avenue.
A White House spokesman told me Lopez and her husband, Anthony, were invited because they are part of the NFL Miami Dolphins ownership group.
During the game the viewing groups will be spread through the State Dining Room, the East Room, other rooms on the White House second floor, and also in the theater, Politics Daily learned. Previous Obama Super Bowl parties have taken place mainly in the smallish theater, with about 40 seats.
And no, the guests won't be grouped based on the team they're rooting for. With a renewed Obama push for bipartisanship, I'm told "the whole point is to bring people together."
Other guests, according to a White House list provided to Politics Daily, include:
* Pennsylvania senators, Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Bob Casey.
* Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) whose district includes Green Bay, and Lambeau Field, the capital of the Packer Nation.
* Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz.
* Buffalo, N.Y. Mayor Byron Brown.
*Texas Democratic Reps. Rafael Anchia and Trey Martinez.
* Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.