7/16 Lou & the president

Lou Piniella met the country’s No. 1 White Sox fan on Thursday, President Barack Obama. Piniella and his family took a tour of the White House, and were able to get five minutes with President Obama in the Oval Office.

“We didn’t talk about baseball,” Piniella said. “He was very personable with my grandkids and my wife and children. I was very appreciative. He’s a class man and has done a really nice job for our country. It was just an honor and pleasure being in his presence.”

Piniella and his family had lunch at the White House with the President’s top advisor, David Axelrod, and some of his staff. Then, they met with with Mr. Obama, before watching him leave in his helicopter. The Piniella contingent viewed the situation room in the White House, went to the Rose Garden, and then the Cubs manager had to go to Nationals Park for an early workout.

“It’s always a pleasure and a thrill,” Piniella said about meeting presidents. “I’d never met Mr. Obama personally but I’d heard so many wonderful things about him. I came away more impressed than ever.”

Piniella has met both of the Bushes, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

“I go back a ways,” Piniella said.

He got news about the tour during a fishing trip in Michigan with the family during the All-Star break.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Piniella said. “I couldn’t have come away more impressed with this gentleman. He’s a picture of class and tranquility. I can see why he’s had success and is enjoying success as commander in chief of our country.”

Piniella may not have talked baseball with Mr. Obama, but did with his staff.

“They didn’t have any lineup ideas like you all do,” Piniella quipped.

— Carrie Muskat

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