“My first question is, Coach, what took you so long?” Obama quipped, drawing laughter. “It’s been three whole years since I last saw you.”
The team presented the president with a No. 16 Alabama white road jersey, as well as a commemorative football and helmet.
“This is the fourth time I’ve hosted Alabama here at the White House,” Obama remarked. “So, clearly, I’ve brought you some good luck. In fact, you could call me O‘Bama.”
Obama praised the players for their contributions to society off the field, revealing that the team spent time with Wounded Warriors from Walter Reed and Fort Belvoir earlier today.
“I know that the people of Alabama are extraordinarily proud of this team. Maybe the Auburn fans don’t want to admit it, but everybody recognizes excellence when they see it, and nobody has had more sustained excellence as a football program at the collegiate level than theAlabama Crimson Tide,” Obama said. “Congratulations. And I’d like to say I’ll see you next year, but we’ve got this thing called term limits. You can keep on going.”
Saban praised Obama for the personal sacrifice he’s made serving as president, and thanked the president for welcoming his team to the White House again.
“I think everybody here appreciates anybody who gives their life for the service of others and the quality of our life and our great country — so we certainly appreciate that,” Saban told Obama. “This is one of the last times it will together, but it’s certainly one of the mostspecial times that we’ve had, to come here and share this with you. And it’s something that we certainly thank you for.”