Friday, March 12, 2010

GNB Late Night: You won the gold and you have health care!

(Photo: Charles Dharapak / AP, from "The hockey sweater, White House style")

Four of us Canadians stood together in the White House briefing room this afternoon for the big moment.

One wore a Canadian hockey jersey, one wore the now-famous red "Canada" mittens. We each wore smiles as our American colleagues teased us about the 'important' Canadian story.

The U.S. President's spokesman, Robert Gibbs, kept his Olympic hockey bet today with Prime Minister Harper's press secretary, Dimitri Soudas. Gibbs lost the bet, and so today he delivered on his end of it. Sort of.

He did indeed wear a Team Canada hockey jersey to the press briefing, as per the bet.

(Dimitri Soudas had the jersey delivered to Gibbs, generously adding the number 39 worn by Ryan Miller, the fine goalie for Team USA.)

Gibbs appeared in front of the room and before the live cameras to what sounded like good natured groans. He turned for the cameras, and explained how President Obama had instructed the U.S. Embassy to send a case of Molson Canadian (from Canada's oldest brewery) and a case of Yuengling (brewed in Pennsylvania, by the oldest beer maker in the U.S.) to the Prime Minister's office.

Gates then he removed the sweater and conducted most of the briefing in a Team USA jersey that he was wearing underneath the winning jersey.

The bulk of the briefing was about health care reform in the U.S.

One of the American reporters quipped to the Canadians, "you won the gold and you have health care!"