NCAA champs visit White House

Updated: April 6, 2006, 8:34 PM ET
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- In congratulating NCAA championship teams on Thursday at the White House, President Bush joked that the U.S. Military Academy's rifle team might be able to teach Vice President Dick Cheney a thing or two.

President Bush
AP Photo/Charles DharapakPresident Bush vetoes wearing his new outfit from Auburn's women's swimming and diving team.

"If you happen to be walking around and run into the vice president, you might give him a few pointers," Bush said, referring to how Cheney accidentally shot a companion while hunting in Texas.

Bush, who said he'd be at West Point next month to deliver a commencement speech, honored 12 NCAA teams, including Stanford's women's cross country team, for winning national titles during the 2005 and 2006 seasons.

Bush's quip about Cheney got the biggest laugh at the ceremony on the South Lawn.

The Lady Terps received the biggest applause.

Maryland's women's basketball team won its first NCAA title on Tuesday, overcoming a 13-point deficit to force overtime and beat Duke 78-75.

"Less than 48 hours ago, they were cutting down the nets in Boston," Bush said. "Here they are soaking up the sun at the White House. We welcome you here. We marvel at your dramatic overtime win and we thank you for being such fantastic athletes."

The women's basketball team was one of three Maryland teams Bush honored. The women's field hockey team and men's soccer team were NCAA champs in 2005.

"Perhaps one theme of champions day is 'Fear the Turtle,"' Bush said.

Auburn's women's championship swimming and diving team gave the president a skimpy black bathing suit.

"Awfully thoughtful of you," he said, holding it up for the audience to see. "I'm not going to wear it."

The other teams honored were the University of Colorado men's and women's skiing team, the University of Florida men's basketball team, the University of Wisconsin men's cross country team, the University of Portland women's soccer team, and the University of Washington women's volleyball team.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press