Obama left licking his wounds again. This time he's nursing 12 stitches after splitting his lip on basketball court
By David Gardner
7:59 PM on 27th November 2010
The White House Christmas tree arrived yesterday - but there was one member of the Obama family who was reluctant to smile about it. For the last few months, President Barack Obama has been licking his wounds as his policies have taken a beating. But he was hurting for real yesterday after getting 12 stitches in his lip when he was accidentally roughed up during a game of basketball.
He was hit in the mouth with an elbow during an early morning pick-up game in Washington. It was a five-on-five game and included the president’s personal assistant Reggie Love, who played basketball at university.
The White House at first did not identify the person who went up for a shot and elbowed Mr Obama, who was playing defense.
But administration officials later released a statement pointing the finger at Rey Decerega, the director of programs for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.
Mr Obama stemmed the flow of blood with what looked like a wad of gauze.
He emerged from the gymnasium after about 90 minutes dabbing at his mouth and was rushed back to the doctor’s office on the ground floor of the White House to get stitches under local anaesthetic.
The president’s press secretary Robert Gibbs confirmed Mr Obama was injured while playing basketball. He said the medical unit that treated the president used a smaller filament than is usual which increases the number of stitches but makes a tighter stitch and results in a smaller scar.
Mr Obama was expected to play a round of golf after the traditional turkey dinner on Thursday, which was Thanksgiving Day in the US and a national holiday.
But the bad weather in Washington meant that he changed his mind and played hoops inside instead.
It was just the latest blow for the president after a grim month when his Democratic Party took a battering in the mid-term elections and Mr Obama’s personal approval rating has plunged to a record low.