WASHINGTON D.C. (KDKA) — The City of Pittsburgh has certainly attracted President Obama’s attention.

From sports teams to economic renewal to eateries, the President of the United States seems to like this area.

He picked Dan Rooney to be his Ambassador to Ireland. He had the owners of Pamela’s Diner come to the White House to make pancakes. He chose the city for his first G-20 Summit. Also, he follows Pittsburgh sports closely.

But while sports initially defined the President’s view of Pittsburgh, that has changed in recent years.

KDKA Political Editor Jon Delano first met then-senator Barack Obama three years ago. At that time, he asked the future president: “When you think Pittsburgh, what comes to mind?”

President Obama responded: “Steelers.”

Delano asked the President the same question again when he sat down with him this week at the White House.

President Obama: “Well, there are a bunch of things I think of.”

For one thing, Obama believes most outside our region don’t appreciate the beauty of this city.

“Pittsburgh is a more beautiful city than most people realize with the river and the Waterfront,” said President Obama.

He believes the transformation from steel manufacturing to high tech, medicine, software and future technologies sets the right example.

“Its economy is diversified very effectively, and so can be a model for how cities recreate themselves and how America recreates itself,” said President Obama.

Watch Jon Delano’s full interview with the President here:

The President takes credit for helping to put Pittsburgh on the world stage in selecting the city to host the G-20 Summit.

“It’s a world city now, and I think all the leaders from all around the world were very impressed with the hospitality that the people of Pittsburgh showed,” he said. “So, I think Pittsburgh’s on the move.”

No surprise, always the politician, the President thinks politically about the support this area gave him in 2008.

“I think the people in Pittsburgh have just been wonderful friends to me,” he added. “Obviously, we got a lot of support when I was there campaigning in Pittsburgh.”

But, of course, with this President, sports is never far from his mind, having plucked his Ambassador to Ireland from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“The Steelers are still a big part of Pittsburgh’s life, and Pitt’s basketball team looks like it’s pretty well positioned,” said Obama.

Delano: “Have you finished your brackets?”

President Obama: “I haven’t finished my brackets, but I do think that Pitt gets at least to the Elite Eight.”

So, while sports continues to keep Pittsburgh front and center in the President’s mind, it’s pretty clear that his contact with this region during the campaign and presidency have broadened his view of this region.

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