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Obama, Cameron to go to basketball game

By Lateef Mungin, CNN
updated 8:50 PM EDT, Tue March 13, 2012
President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron met in New York last year.
President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron met in New York last year.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • There will be two games played in Ohio on Tuesday, tipping off the NCAA tournament
  • The two leaders will conduct a joint interview at halftime of the first game
  • Obama also launched an NCAA bracket challenge on his campaign website

(CNN) -- President Barack Obama, a well-known basketball fan, will treat British Prime Minister David Cameron to a little March Madness Tuesday as the two head to Ohio to catch an NCAA men's tournament basketball game.

There will be two games tipping off the tournament in Dayton, Ohio, a swing state. During halftime of the first game, Western Kentucky versus Mississippi Valley State, the two leaders will conduct a joint interview.

The leaders' trip to the game comes as Obama launched his new tournament "bracket challenge" on his campaign website.

Obama is asking those who visit the website to predict who will win the college basketball championship and to compare their picks against his.

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"It's college basketball time again — and as friends and co-workers gather around the water cooler to talk top seeds and Cinderellas, here's your chance to fill out a bracket with the President himself," the website says.

The site promises to publish the names of anyone who does better than the president once the tournament is over.

Obama has publicly picked brackets in years past, drawing heat from Republicans last year for appearing in an ESPN segment to unveil his picks in March 2011.

RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said the White House should "explain why filming an ESPN special on the NCAA tournament should be a priority on his public schedule."

Before revealing the picks, the president did urge viewers to go to usaid.gov to donate to charities that were assisting in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that had devastated Japan that month.

For the record, Obama picked Kansas, Duke, Ohio State, Pitt for his 2011 final four and chose Kansas to take the championship. It didn't.

UConn won, beating Butler.

It is unclear if Obama would reveal this year's picks during his interview with Cameron on Tuesday.

But Cameron's visit will not be all fun and games.

On Wednesday, the two leaders will be back in Washington conducting extensive meetings about a range of topics including Afghanistan and Syria, the White House said.

"There's a strong working relationship and actually even a strong personal bond between Prime Minister Cameron and President Obama," White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said last week. "We maintain a special and a essential friendship and partnership with the government and people of the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom is our NATO ally and our closest partner in the world."

On Tuesday, the two co-authored an op-ed piece in the Washington Post titled " An alliance the world can count on."

"The alliance between the United States and Great Britain is a partnership of the heart, bound by the history, traditions and values we share. But what makes our relationship special — a unique and essential asset — is that we join hands across so many endeavors. Put simply, we count on each other and the world counts on our alliance," the leaders said in the article.

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