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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bipartisan Agreement: Bring Back N.F.L. Officials


Few events transcend politics, especially in a campaign year. The National Football League's lockout of its game officials appears to be one of them.

Following the latest, and perhaps most egregious, disputed call by the replacement officials in the Green Bay-Seattle game Monday night, politicians from both parties are echoing many fans' frustrations and calling for an end to the lockout.

In a personally signed Twitter message from his campaign account, President Obama expressed hope for a quick end to the lockout.

< p>Later, Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, told reporters aboard Air Force One that the president watched the game and “thinks there was a real problem with that call.”

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who has made his battle against unions a staple of his tenure, took to Twitter to call for the return of the unionized officials.

Jon Erpenbach, a Democratic state senator from Wisconsin who has clashed in the past with Mr. Walker, agreed with the governor on Twitter.

And former President Bill Clinton, who is enjoying an all-time high in popularity, is using his redi scovered national microphone to express his dismay at the N.F.L.

“The Packers will wake up this morning and just sort of shake their head and say, ‘We should have won by two touchdowns,' ” Mr. Clinton said on Tuesday with MSNBC's “Morning Joe.” The former president continued his criticism in an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan, arguing that “we need to get the strike over and get more experienced people in there.”

But that doesn't mean some aren't politicizing it.

In a town hall meeting in Cincinnati on Tuesday, Representative Paul D. Ryan, a devoted Green Bay Packers fan, likened the much-maligned officials to Mr. Obama's budget staff.

“I half-think these refs work part time for the Obama administration in the Budget Office,” Mr. Ryan said. “They see the national debt clock staring them in the face, they see a debt crisis and they just ignore and pretend it didn't even happen.”

Later in the speech, he tweaked a well-worn line from his standard stump speech, saying, “Unlike the Seattle Seahawks last night, we want to deserve this victory, we want to earn this victory.”

For those N.F.L. fans hoping for executive intervention from the Sports Fan in Chief, Mr. Obama doesn't appear to have a phone call scheduled to the N.F.L. commissioner, Roger Goodell. Last week, in a radio interview with Bill Willis, of WTAM-AM in Cleveland, the president said, “But one thing I got to say, though, is it just me or do we have to get our regular refs back?,” before adding, “I can't get involved in it, but I'm just expressing my point of view as a sports fan.”