Obama attends congressional baseball game before trade vote

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Forget the peanuts and Cracker Jack.

President Barack Obama apparently held out hope that complimentary White House beer would help a House vote on a major trade bill go down as smoothly as an ice cold one.

Not known to particularly enjoy hobnobbing with anyone, let alone members of Congress, Obama nonetheless made a last-minute call Thursday night and headed to Nationals Park to spend some time schmoozing with lawmakers who suited up for the annual Congressional Baseball Game between Democrats and Republicans.

Obama arrived early in the game, with his party leading 2-1. He chatted up Democrats, including House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, before greeting the Republican players. Pelosi and other members of the House Democratic leadership were not in uniform.

Fans in the stands behind the Democratic dugout chanted "Four More Years, Four More Years" while spectators seated on the Republican side chanted "TPA, TPA" - a reference to the Trade Promotion Authority that Obama is seeking from Congress.

A critical House vote set for Friday is expected to be close and dramatic, as many House Democrats oppose the legislation. The Senate has already passed the trade promotion bill.

Among the lawmakers wearing baseball uniforms were Republican presidential candidate and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona.

Obama wore slacks and a dress shirt and brought two dozen bottles of White House-brewed beer for the winning team.

The Congressional Baseball Game was established in 1909 and over the years has evolved into a fundraiser benefiting several District of Columbia charities.

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Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

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