Barack Obama has always been a high achiever, and he's living up to that standard with his "March Madness" picks. After the first three rounds of the NCAA Tournament, the president ranks in the 99th
percentile, according to ESPN.com.
Alas, that's down a notch from his standing after the second round ended Friday: He was in the 100th percentile then, tied for 492nd out of 5,923,829 submitted brackets to ESPN.
According to the Hill
, Obama also leads a tournament pool featuring members of Congress. Based on a point-tallying system designed by Yahoo.com, the president's score of 49 (out of a possible 64) puts him ahead of Sens. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).
Though politicians on both sides of the aisle have joined in the fun, Obama has been singled out by Republicans for criticism. Last week, after ESPN broadcast a special feature on the president filling out his bracket, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tweeted
: "How can @BarackObama say he is leading when [he] puts his NCAA bracket over the budget & other pressing issues?"
And former House speaker (and possible 2012 presidential candidate) New Gingrich took aim at Obama's "fixation" on the basketball tournament, complaining that he "spent time on ESPN giving us his version of what really mattered to him, which was the Final Four."
White House spokesman Jay Carney defended his boss
last week, saying he is capable of juggling the many demands of the job and is hardly distracted by the tournament.