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As Obama takes in Carrier Classic, Magic Johnson plays pundit

November 11, 2011|By Peter Nicholas
(Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images )

Reporting from Coronado — Standing near one end of the court in his green Spartans jacket, former Laker great Magic Johnson had the look of a man too polite to say no to an interview request.

So ... Why not?

Johnson said he has been watching the Republican presidential debates. As a supporter of President Obama, he said, the performances haven't left him feeling worried.

"None of the candidates from the other side are looking good right now," Johnson said.

What did he make of Rick Perry's memory lapse?

"I couldn't believe that," he said. When Perry jumped into the race, Johnson said, he believed that the Texas governor would give Obama the most trouble.

"I thought Rick would do a much better job," Johnson said, before tipoff at the Michigan State-North Carolina game aboard the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson. "But every debate, he keeps stumbling and stumbling and stumbling."

He went on to assess a few others in the field. Of Herman Cain, he said, "The situation he's gone through – you can't recover from that."

Mitt Romney?

"And Romney just seems to never take charge. Right now you've got to take charge of America. We need somebody tough and strong. So President Obama is the man right now. And I think that he can lead us."

Looking fit, Johnson huddled with the Michigan State players at one point, giving what looked to be a few coaching hints.

"We're a young team trying to get it together," he said of the Spartans. "But it's a great challenge for us to see where we are."

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