It's a shame George W. Bush isn't the president of Awesome instead

Maese et al.,

Subject: Michael Phelps is kicking Speedos and taking names, son!


Sorry dude, but I am going to talk about politics a little. And you're going to listen. Is it just me, or does President Bush become 10 times more lovable when he's clowning around with athletes? These Olympic might turn out to be one of the best parts of his legacy. First, he shows up at the pool today waving an American flag, giving Michael Phelps the thumbs up, and acting, in general, like everyone's lovable uncle. Then he heads down to the beach volleyball venue and contemplates, if only for a moment, taking up Misty May-Treanor on an offer to slap her on the butt. As Will Ferrell might say if this were a Saturday Night Live skit, "Presidenting is cool!"

I wish, after his second term ends, we could name Bush the President of All Sports, and it could be his job to travel the world and goof around with various athletes of all nations. It could be like Jock Diplomacy. He could play cricket in Pakistan and snooker in England, and no one could possibly be upset. Bush, the politician, I'd probably give mixed reviews. But Bush the Wacky Sports Fan? I can't get enough of that guy. I want to see him courtside at the basketball games this week, doing flying chest bumps with Kobe Bryant after long 3-pointers. I want him doing the wave at water polo, and nudging the guy sitting next to him as cracking jokes like, "Where are all the horses, dude? I thought this was polo!" and "You know who would be hard to waterboard? That Michael Phelps! He's like a fish, ain't he?"

Seeing Bush at the pool today also reminded me of the funny item in the New York Post a few years ago, when Phelps allegedly tried to score Jenna Bush's phone number and got shot down by her publicist. If Jenna had seen Phelps swim yesterday -- and if she hadn't already gotten married, I suppose -- maybe she would have reconsidered. (Her sister, Barbara, was in the house, however, and I've always thought she was the cuter twin anyway. What do you say, Mike?)

Anyway, holy cow, did Phelps look good. I'm not a big fan of sportswriters making predictions, but after seeing him smash the world record in the 400 IM today, I'd say eight gold medals isn't just a possibility, it's a probability. The biggest roadblock is likely going to be the 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay, where the French have already declared themselves the team to beat.

"The Americans? We're going to smash them," Alan Bernard said earlier this week.

It's always so cute when the French try to talk trash, since they're so often sitting around and musing about life instead of actually living it. It reminds me a lot of the Sydney Olympics, when Gary Hall Jr., said in his opinion, the Americans were going to smash the Aussies like guitars in the 4 x 100 free relay, and when the Aussies won, they played air guitar on the medal podium. If Phelps and Co., made Bernard and his boys flake apart like cheap pastry, it's going to be an interesting celebration to say the least.

Phelps made an interesting admission in his press conference: This might have been his last 400 IM. Ever. He told Bowman he wanted to be done with the race, and Bowman said if that was the case, he had to set a world record. Phelps broke his old mark by nearly two seconds.

"He said (after the race) 'We'll have to talk,' " Phelps said. "I was like 'Whoa, whoa, whoa, you said if I break the record, that was the last one.' Hopefully that's the case. I would like to not swim that anymore. I'd like to try some new races in the coming years and be able to have a different approach. We'll see. But in my opinion, that was my last one."

I'm going to make a bold statement based on little more than my own intuition, Maese: I think Phelps is going to try and win the 100-meter freestyle in London in 2012. And possibly the backstroke events. Maybe even the 400-meter freestyle. If he could put together a completely different program, and win six or seven gold medals, wouldn't that pretty much cement him as one of the greatest athletes of all time? In swimming, being one of the best in the world at varying distances is akin to being the best pitcher and best hitter in baseball, something only Babe Ruth could really say. (What a minute! They're both from Baltimore! I smell a chart in our future!)

Whatever happens, that 400 IM was amazing. Supposedly Ryan Lochte has been suffering from some kind of illness the last few days, according to the Dayton Beach News-Journal. But I think Phelps beats a healthy Lochte anyway today. He just had that look in his eye that he was going to destroy anyone in his path. It was fun to watch.

By the way, I know we're supposed to hate her an all because she beat Katie Hoff and took her world record, but Australia's Stephanie Rice is like the Megan Fox of swimmers. Obviously, Fox is much hotter, but Rice just has that swagger the some good-looking women like Fox have and you can't help but love it. It's like she knows she's hot, she knows that the world thinks she's hot and she's not shy about admitting she loves the attention. She even got in a little hot water in Australia recently for partying hard (posing with a stripper pole!) and posting pictures of it on Facebook.

On second thought, forget the Bush twins.

Rice is who Phelps should be chasing, especially since she recently broke up with her boyfriend, Australian swimmer Eamon Sullivan. It was such a big deal Down Under that newspapers treated it like Brad and Jen  when they got divorced. Shows you how seriously they take their swimming in land of wallabies and koala bears.

Gotta run. The smell of chlorine is making my woozy, but it's back to the pool for another session.

Photos -- Phelps and Bush: Getty Images; Stephanie Rice: Facebook.