AP Photo/Alex Brandon
Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011 | 9:07 a.m.
WASHINGTON - It's official: Pacquiao fever has taken over the country.
The fervor over the Filipino boxer-turned-politician's return to the ring this May at the MGM Grand has trickled all the way to Washington D.C., where Manny Pacquiao is spending the day sidling a stride across the Senate floor and into the White House.
First stop: with fellow (former) boxer, Harry Reid. Pacquiao is an old friend of the Reid campaign, having helped the majority leader campaign for re-election a few months ago in Las Vegas, in the final week before Election Day.
Now, in a way, it's Reid's turn to campaign for Pacquiao - whose official purpose in making the visit to D.C. is to promote the boxer's upcoming fight.
"He and I come from opposite sides of the globe. But in our hearts, we come from the same place," Reid said, adding that he was sure he wouldn't last more than a few seconds if left in a ring with Pacquiao, an eight-time world champion.
Reid spent more time stressing Pacquiao's other accomplishments, however: those as a humanitarian, campaigning against human trafficking, and those as a representative, helping his rural province of Sarangani in the Philippines.
“He knows it’s not enough just to fight for yourself ... or to be a world champion many times over," Reid said. "You have to be a champion for others.”
But the meeting with Reid is hardly the highlight of the trip for Pacquiao, who blew his own press cover in an excited outburst a few days ago, when he prematurely announced he was going to get to meet President Barack Obama.