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Obama welcomes WNBA champions to White House

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • President Obama welcomes the WNBA champions to the White House
  • Obama calls the Phoenix Mercury players good role models for his daughters
  • Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano also attends the event

Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama thanked the WNBA champion Phoenix Mercury players at a White House reception Monday for being good role models for his daughters.

"I want Malia and Sasha to know that there is absolutely no contradiction between women who are beautiful and healthy and contributing, and good athletes and competitive," Obama told the players, later adding: "As a father, I thank you for being great role models."

The Mercury won their second WNBA title in three years last season, and Obama noted that one of their biggest fans -- Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano -- was in the audience.

Napolitano formerly was governor of Arizona, and once served as guest coach for a Mercury victory, the president said.

Obama also joked that Mercury assistant coach Julie Hairgrove and her kids were good luck charms for the team, as she was pregnant with her second child when they won the title in 2007 and expecting her third child during last year's title run.

"And I understand the team is trying to talk Julie and her husband into their fourth," Obama said to laughter.