Obama makes healthcare pitch to baseball-besotted Boston

US President Barack Obama speaks at Faneuil Hall on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Oct 30, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. With his soaring rhetoric and skilled oratory, Mr Barack Obama is used to knocking it out of the ballpark. -- PH
US President Barack Obama speaks at Faneuil Hall on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Oct 30, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. With his soaring rhetoric and skilled oratory, Mr Barack Obama is used to knocking it out of the ballpark. -- PHOTO: AFP

BOSTON (AFP) - With his soaring rhetoric and skilled oratory, Mr Barack Obama is used to knocking it out of the ballpark.

But despite a stirring defense of his landmark healthcare law on Wednesday, Mr Obama accepted that his Boston audience's minds might be elsewhere as the city's baseball team closed in on a World Series victory.

"I'm well aware that a presidential visit is not the biggest thing going on today in Boston," Mr Obama joked, just hours before the Boston Red Sox were due to face the St. Louis Cardinals in game six.

"I understand that. I tried to grow a beard. But Michelle wasn't having it.

I'm also old enough to remember a time when the Red Sox were not in the World Series three times in 10 years.

"But I know the chance to win one at home for the first time since 1918 is a pretty special thing."

The Red Sox, who lead the Cardinals 3-2, can clinch the best-of-seven World Series if they win at Fenway Park later Wednesday.