ABC News' Mary Bruce, Jon Garcia and Sunlen Miller report:
The Bears-Fan-In-Chief started off his speech this morning in Manitowoc, WI, by clearing the air. “I am not here because I lost a bet. I just wanted to be clear about that,” President Obama joked, admitting that he had already been gifted three Packers jerseys. “I mean, I’ve only been on the ground for an hour,” he said.
When Obama arrived in Green Bay this morning he joked that Packers fans were “rubbing it in” after Governor Scott Walker gave him his first jersey of the day. The Packers beat Obama’s beloved Bears last weekend to advance to the Super Bowl where they will face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But Obama wasn’t the only Chicago diehard to wander into Green Bay Packers territory today. So did ABC soundman Hollis Green. Green, a native Chicagoan and lifelong Bears fan, was assigned to cover the President’s trip but not to shed his allegiance to the Bears. To wit: Hollis marched into Manitowoc proudly wearing his Bears cap and he was rewarded with a shout out from the President.
“I see one guy with a Bear’s hat here. He’s got a lot of guts,” Obama said. “But even if it didn’t go the way I wanted, I’m glad to see that one of the greatest rivalries in sports is still there. And we will get you next year. I’m just letting you know. Congratulations... I wish you good luck in the Super Bowl.”
Since the Bears lost to the Packers on Sunday, Green wasn’t too scared.
“I just knew everyone here in Green Bay would love to see my hat. Of course I didn’t feel threatened because we lost,” Green said after the event.
Green isn’t sure if Obama recognized him but there’s a good chance he may have looked familiar. That’s because Green covered Obama in the 2008 campaign, ran audio on several interviews with then-candidate Obama and even attended Trinity Church when Obama was a senator.
“I was very proud very, he’s a true Bears fan,” Green said of Obama.
Like Obama, who was ribbed for his allegiance from the moment he touched down in Green Bay, Green couldn’t escape the taunts of Packers fans at every turn.
One of the female factory workers at the Obama event in Manitowoc, WI told him “you got a lot of nerve to wear that (cap) up in here!”
Another, tongue in cheek, offered “yeah, really sorry for your loss.”
Green wasn’t phased. He used to attend Bears games when his dad had season tickets.
“Oh definitely I’m rootin’ for the Steelers” in the Super Bowl in two weeks. His mantra? “Beat the Packers!”
Photo Courtesy: ABC's Jon Garcia