After air ball during congressional committee, Curt Clawson renews his “three-point challenge” to Obama

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U.S. Rep. Curt Clawson, in one of the first TV ads for his congressional run, challenged President Barack Obama to a “three-point shootout.”

Now, the former star of the Purdue University basketball team made the challenge official.

On July 8, Clawson sent the White House a basketball with a message scrawled in black ink: “President Obama, Let’s shoot some hoops sometime.” The White House gift office recently confirmed the delivery.

The Bonita Springs Republican signed the ball “FL 19” (his district), “Purdue 84” (the year he graduated) and “Keady,” for Coach Gene Keady, who also appeared in Clawson’s campaign commercial. Keady attended Clawson’s swearing in last month.

“President Obama, basketball is a great sport that we both love,” says a note accompanying the basketball. “I can’t run much anymore + I never could jump. But I still got touch! Being new to Congress, I hope sometime we can shoot some hoops!”

When Obama took office, he had a White House outdoor tennis into a basketball court.

Clawson — who replaced Republican Rep. Trey Radel in Congress — became an Internet sensation last week during a congressional hearing, when he repeatedly addressed two U.S. officials as if they were from the Indian government.

“Just as your capital is welcome here to produce good-paying jobs in the U.S., I’d like our capital to be welcome there,” Clawson was recorded saying in a video of the exchange that soon went viral. “I ask cooperation and commitment and priority from your government in so doing. Can I have that?”

Seemingly, the gaffe was because the two officials had dark skin and South Asian surnames.

“I made a mistake in speaking before being fully briefed and I apologize,” Clawson said later. “I’m a quick study, but in this case I shot an air ball.”

clawson letter to obama

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.