Obama Plays Hard Ball

His postpartisanship never stood a chance. If there's a second term, the President plans a different game

Cover Photograph by Callie Shell for TIME

Barack Obama can't get enough of the Ugandan Little League team. As Air Force One takes off from another campaign rally in Ohio, the President settles into his airborne conference room, gum lodged in the back of his mouth, with ESPN's live coverage of 12-year-olds' World Series baseball on the flat screen. He raves to his staff about the story line, an up-from-obscurity fable of barefoot kids from East Africa playing in central Pennsylvania. There is, after all, something familiar about the narrative arc: long-shot outsiders, international roots, hope, aspiration, change.

The truth is, televised sports remains Obama's primary diversion these...

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