President Barack Obama may be struggling to boost a weak economy and push through healthcare reform, but he is making undisputed progress in one area — he’s raised his bowling score from an embarrassing 37 — out of a possible 300 — to a 144.
The athletic U.S. 47-year-old, known as an enthusiastic basketball player , scored one of his presidential race’s few missteps last year during a campaign stop in Pennsylvania when he tried bowling and posted the 37, a result far below the respectable range.
So it seemed surprising when his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, said Obama, who turns 48 on Tuesday, had included some bowling in his birthday celebrations with friends during the weekend at the Camp David presidential retreat.
It was even more surprising when Gibbs insisted that Obama had rolled an eminently respectable 144, almost quadrupling his score during the ill-fated campaign stop. “I watched the last four throws: three strikes and a nine. I’m just saying,” Gibbs told an incredulous White House press corps. “I told the president, ‘Look if you’d have done this in Pennsylvania, my life would have been a little easier last spring.’”
That awkward performance at a sport strongly identified with the U.S. working class was mocked by Obama’s critics as a sign that the candidate, a former law professor and graduate of two of the country’s most elite universities, could not relate to regular Americans.