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White House watches sports, not GOP convention

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President Obama and at least one top White House aide are doing their best to tune out the Obama-bashing at the Republican convention in Tampa.

On his way back from a campaign trip to Colorado Wednesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Air Force that the president has better things to do than watch the GOP confab and hasn’t seen any part of it, including Ann Romney’s speech.

“When the TV is on and the president is in the room, it’s usually ESPN,” Mr. Carney said.

On Thursday, Mr. Carney, speaking about himself, said he didn’t watch the keynote speech by Romney running mate Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin the night before because he was too consumed with the Nationals baseball team and whether they would stop a mini-losing streak.

He did admit to catching “some of the video” the morning after.

The president’s campaign team didn’t have the luxury of skipping Mr. Ryan’s speech, sending out rapid-response slamming it as full of “lies” Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Mr. Carney didn’t repeat the word “lies” – but basically accused Mr. Ryan of as much in different language.

“We agree with assessments by reporters and independent fact checkers that many of the assertions being made by the Romney campaign are inaccurate about the president’s policies,” he said.

He also pointed to comments Romney pollster Neil Newhouse made earlier in the week at a panel organized by ABC News that “we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.”

Mr. Newhouse was referring to Romney ads attacking Obama’s waiver policy on welfare.

It’s unclear whether the president or Mr. Carney plans to watch Mr. Romney’s make-or-break acceptance speech Wednesday night. When pressed on the president’s TV viewing plans, Mr. Carney told reporters he would get back to them.

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About the Author

Susan Crabtree

Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at

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