Win Or Lose, Ky. Gets Spot In NCAA Championship

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has a dilemma: Should he root for University of Kentucky or University of Louisville in their Final Four hoop match-up? Host Scott Simon talks with Beshear about the upcoming game.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has got a real dilemma. Does he root for the Wildcats of the University of Kentucky or the University of Louisville Cardinals in tonight's Final Four basketball game?

Governor Beshear joins us now from his office in Frankfort, Kentucky. Governor, thanks for being with us.

GOVERNOR STEVE BESHEAR: You're welcome, Scott.

SIMON: And let me please give you the chance to alienate half the voters in your state by telling us where you stand on this game.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BESHEAR: Well, Scott, the one thing I do know is that tonight a team from Kentucky is going to win and be in the Final Four.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SIMON: Now, I'm told their UK man, right?

BESHEAR: I went to UK and have both his undergraduate and law degree. And my wife went to UK and we met there. So obviously I'm a Wildcats fan. I'm a U of L fan except when they play the Wildcats. But as governor, you know, I'm going to be thrilled if we do have a team in the final game. It'll be wonderful for the state.

And this whole weekend is great for Kentucky because it really has put the national and, in some ways, international spotlight on our state once again. And you can't buy that kind of publicity.

SIMON: Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson was the mayor of Louisville for 21 years. I wonder if the two of you have a friendly or...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SIMON: ...any kind of wager going on.

BESHEAR: Well, I think will be buying each other lunch or dinner, or something after the whole thing is over. You know, Jerry was mayor for 21 years in Louisville and it's going to be a fun time. I'm going to spend the first half of the game sitting with the Louisville bunch. And he's going to sit with the Kentucky Wildcat group. And then we're going to switch at halftime.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SIMON: I don't know if this is what people like about politics or what people can't stand about politics.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BESHEAR: You know, as governor, you want to let everybody know that you're proud of both of these teams and proud of both of the universities.

SIMON: Governor Beshear, any work getting done in Kentucky this week?

BESHEAR: Not much.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BESHEAR: The legislature is winding down. Really think that they actually agreed on the budget because they all want to get to New Orleans to watch this game. So, it has had a positive effect on the legislative process. There was a mock sign that someone put on Facebook recently. You know, we've got our Welcome to Kentucky Unbridled Spirit Steven L. Beshear Governor signs, you know, that are on all your highways coming into the state. But someone superimposed underneath and said: Kentucky will be closing from 5 to 9 P.M., March 31st, due to an outbreak of Wildcat fever.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SIMON: Well, Wildcat and Cardinal fever, maybe.

BESHEAR: That's right. That's right.

SIMON: Well, Governor Beshear, good luck to you - whatever the result.

BESHEAR: Thank you very much. And no matter what, Kentucky is going to be a winner.

SIMON: Steve Beshear, the governor of that great basketball state.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: This is NPR News.

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