[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/30/art.obamafootball.gi.jpg caption="Obama was rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers."]
White House Correspondent
The White House theater was packed, all 40 seats filled, so guests spilled out into the East Wing where big TVs were set up overlooking the First Lady’s Garden. The Super Bowl game blasted from the theater, but the party focused more on family.
Attendees say about 75 people showed up Sunday evening, including several dozen children from ages two on up.
Kids gathered around a Nintendo WII where Pennsylvania Congressman Charlie Dent says his 8-year-old son Jack took on two sisters determined to win. No, not the two sister who live upstairs.
President Obama, wearing a casual button-downed shirt, walked from room to room serving his guests brownies, and oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies. Michelle Obama worked the crowd too.
There were hot-dogs, chicken sandwiches, chips and salsa, soft pretzels, hot fudge ice cream, and pizza.
The crowd was diverse. Attending Attorney General nominee Eric Holder, Congressman Elijah Cummings, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, wounded soldiers, and plenty of children running around in oversized jerseys.
Republican Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona, decked out in an Arizona Cardinals jersey, placed a wager with Democratic Congressman Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania whose wife and kids donned Steelers gear. Whoever loses has to wear the other guy's team jersey when the House returns on its first full day in session on Wednesday.
Franks accepted his loss Monday, and said he'd be wearing the Steelers jersey, saying "it's always important to be magnanimous in victory and humbling in defeat."
Franks, who also voted against the House stimulus plan, said he and the President did not talk about the economic package, but rather about their children. Franks now has 6 month-old twins, a boy and a girl.
Franks said the President was "very gracious." The Arizona Congressman gave the President a Cardinals jersey with the number 40. It is the number of former Cardinals player, Pat Tillman, who left the team to join the military and was killed in Afghanistan.
Franks said Mr. Obama said "I'd be honored to accept that." Franks said there was no political statement he was making about the war in giving the President the shirt. "He was a very famous Cardinal who personified everything that is noble. The men who are on front lines so some can stay home and watch the Super Bowl," Franks said.
Later several guests cracked up when a young boy approached Mr. Obama and asked "Mr President. Where is the bathroom? Can you tell me where the bathroom is?" Obama responded with a smile "How would I know? I've only been living here 10 days."
Despite a healthy group of Arizona representatives Steelers' fans outnumbered the Cardinals.
Pennsylvania lawmakers Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy and Senator Bob Casey were representing.
Attendees described the cheering as "somewhat restrained" and any foul language was "under control."
Congressman Charlie Dent, a Republican representing Pennsylvania's 15th district said the party was "really fun"! But he warned it wouldn't necessarily change his view about the President's stimulus plan. Dent voted against the House version and said "I take each issue on a case by case basis. There are areas on which I agree and disagree. I think it's important to have some kind of stimulus package, it just depends on what's in it. I'll have to see the revised version." Dent said his family had a ball, "I really commend the President for reaching out. Very smart."
Republican Congressman Franks agreed, "it's always good for members of Congress and the President to personalize and humanize each other regardless of what events they face together in the future," he said, "the hope is it will diminish politics and encourage working together for the country's best interest."
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