Obama not offended by economy remark

Updated: March 21, 2009, 10:09 AM ET
By Heather Dinich | ESPN.com

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said his wife, Mickie, felt the need to send a text message to Reggie Love, President Barack Obama's personal aide, on Thursday to clarify a statement her husband had made on Wednesday that "the economy is something that he should focus on, probably, more than the brackets."

[+] EnlargeMike Krzyzewski
Donnan/US PresswireWhen the media ran with Coach K saying the president should focus more on the economy than filling out a tournament bracket, Mickie Krzyzewski ran interference.

Krzyzewski said the text message said, "Coach didn't mean that. This is what he meant. And I hope he wasn't offended."

Love, according to Krzyzewski, sent a text back that said the president wasn't offended, "though some of the staff was concerned because they have to always be concerned. President Obama thinks Coach K's all right."

His wife sent a text back to say "thanks."

Krzyzewski said his wife and daughters always get more upset than he does, "but they should, and I like that."

"I like when your women stick up for you, you know," Krzyzewski said, laughing. "That's the cool thing. That's a really good thing. As a guy it makes you say, 'Maybe I still got it, whatever I have, I got.' "

Krzyzewski said he heard at breakfast on Thursday that his quote had been taken out of context. He was asked what he thought about the fact that Duke wasn't advancing too far in a lot of brackets.

"Really it doesn't matter at all what anyone predicts, it's what you do," Krzyzewski said on Wednesday. "Somebody said that we're not in President Obama's Final Four. As much as I respect what he's done, really, the economy is something that he should focus on, probably, more than the brackets. So why would I care about that?

"I love the guy, and I think he's going to be great. But I love the fact that so many people are filling them out, because the game is growing so much. But until I quit coaching or retire from coaching, I'm never going to fill one out."

The second part of the quote obviously didn't get as much attention. Krzyzewski was asked in his news conference Friday if he gets bothered when remarks get taken out of context.

"I don't know why people do that," he said. "I mean, a lot of you were here. We were all laughing, and really it was kind of a throwaway line. It wasn't even -- not that I would throw away anything about the president," he said, smiling. "[You] get in trouble for that."

Obama had correctly predicted 19 of 32 games in the first round. He was among close to 5 million people who filled out ESPN online sheets, and he was a bit off the lead: He was in 4,434,809th place after the first set of night games.

The good news for the president: 14 of his Sweet 16 teams are still alive.

Obama has top-seeded Louisville, North Carolina and Pittsburgh, and No. 2 Memphis reaching the Final Four. He took the Tar Heels to win the title.

Heather Dinich covers ACC college basketball and football for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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