OBAMA/President Barack Obama, who has taken some friendly fire from his Democratic Party this week, was presented with a handy piece of protective headgear on Friday that he promised to put to good use.

“I’ll need this during the State of the Union,” he said in Elyria, Ohio. Obama will give the address before Congress on Wednesday.

“I could knock some heads with it,” he said, brandishing the gleaming football helmet complete with the presidential eagle and his number – 44 – presented by the Riddell sports company during a visit to promote policies on jobs and healthcare reform.

“If I watch the game on Sunday I may have to wear it, to get in the mood….you’d have to drink beer through a straw,” he said, gesturing to the comprehensive face mask.

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Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Obama holds football helmet with presidential seal)