Super Bowl XLIX: Obama, in pregame interview, declines to pick winner

Super Bowl XLIX: Obama, in pregame interview, declines to pick winner
President Obama holding a news conference Friday in the East Room of the White House. (Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

President Obama touted lower gas prices and economic growth during a brief television interview before Sunday's Super Bowl, but refused to predict who would win the big game between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks.

"Since my Bears are not in it, I think it's wise for me to not choose a team," Obama told NBC News correspondent Savannah Guthrie. "It's going to be close." 

As for "Deflategate," the controversy over the Patriots' underinflated footballs during the AFC championship game, Obama said:  "The Patriots were going to beat the Colts regardless of what the footballs look like." Two weeks ago, the Patriots thumped the Indianapolis Colts, 45-7. 

The interview was conducted in the White House kitchen. Between sips of the White House's signature honey ale, Obama told Guthrie he wants to see continued economic growth during the final two years of his presidency. 

After Obama's State of the Union address last month, Republicans assailed his agenda as out of touch with an electorate that in November helped propel a Republican takeover of Congress. On Sunday, Obama insisted that Americans are better off today than when he took office in 2009. 

"What we're talking about is the success that America has had digging itself out of a recession," Obama said when asked if he should have sounded more conciliatory in the speech. "My job is to present the right ideas. ... If Republicans think they have better ideas, then they should present them."

Asked if he's a football guy or a basketball guy, Obama said: "Basketball."

And who does he like better  --  Hillary Clinton or Vice President Joe Biden?

"I love them both," he said.

Sunday's pregame interview has become a tradition of sorts for Obama, who last year sat down for a conversation with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly.

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