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Facing angry veterans, an uphill climb for his party in this year’s elections and a possible sanctions war with Russia, President Barack Obama is turning to a time-tested safe harbor for U.S. presidents: sports.

Obama is making a week of it, celebrating games large and small. A day after feting the National Football League champion Seattle Seahawks at the White House, Obama was at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, today to promote tourism and economic development.

He started the week by dropping in on co-ed Little League players at a neighborhood recreation field in Washington, tossing a ball and posing for photos.

“Sports-related events become wonderful escapes for presidents who have a lot of things going wrong,” said Ari Fleischer, former President George W. Bush’s press secretary who now works as a sports media consultant. “They typically don’t lend themselves to partisanship or controversy, they’re an enjoyable getaway, and that might be one of the reasons there’s been an increase in them on the president’s schedule.”

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