Obama plays hardball – and ends up with 12 stitches in his lip

At the start of the month, Barack Obama got beaten up at the polls by his electoral opponents, the Republican party, and he ended a miserable November literally getting an elbow to the face, in a basketball game that left him needing 12 stitches for a split lip.

President Obama had been playing with friends, family and staff members, as he often does, in a 10-person game at Fort McNair, a US military post in Washington.

What began as a bit of exercise the morning after Thanksgiving, ended with the President getting a local anesthetic and stitches from a medical team. "After being inadvertently hit with an opposing player's elbow in the lip, the President received 12 stitches today, administered by the White House Medical Unit," Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary said.

President Obama was later spotted by reporters through an upstairs White House window holding what appeared to be a compress against his mouth, while the White House Christmas tree was being delivered.

The injury provided instant fodder for internet humourists, although liberal comedians were favourably contrasting the accident with the mishap that befell the previous incumbent of the White House. Mr Obama's injury was at least sustained playing sport, they said, while George W Bush nearly choked on a pretzel while merely watching sport on television.