November 17th, 2008
03:15 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama acts presidential even as he lays low

President-elect Obama called California's governor and the mayor of Los Angeles to express concern about the wildfires raging in Southern California.

President-elect Obama called California's governor and the mayor of Los Angeles to express concern about the wildfires raging in Southern California.

(CNN) – The man once referred to by a rival campaign as “the biggest celebrity in the world” has intentionally been keeping a very low profile in the awkward limbo period between Election Day and his inauguration on January 20.

But on Monday President-Elect Barack Obama stepped out a little and acted decidedly presidential in the middle of a disaster in California.

Obama called Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villraigosa “to express his concern over the wildfires and to receive an update on the situation,” according to a statement released by the Obama transition team Monday.

In the nearly two weeks since Election Day, Obama has taken great pains to make it clear that President Bush remains in charge of the country and its affairs until Obama’s swearing in two months. At his first press conference as president-elect, Obama stressed that the country only has one president at a time and, Obama did not participate in the recent economic summit of world leaders convened to discuss a coordinated response to the financial crisis that has roiled global securities and credit markets.

Update 3:15 p.m.: The Web site of President-elect Obama's presidential campaign,, was altered after Obama's calls to Gov. Schwarzenegger and Mayor Villaraigosa in order to encourage visitors to the site to donate to relief efforts for the victims of the Southern California wildfires. Click here to read a blog post on the Web site.

soundoff (172 Responses)
  1. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    If that was George Bush, he probably would have said, "Arnold, you're doing a heck of a job!" 🙂

    November 17, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  2. Joe

    Obama lays low??!! HAHAHA, that's the biggest joke of all time. He's been on the cover of Us Weekly two weeks in a row! A celebrity magazine!

    November 17, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. Carole

    And CNN's point is????? Criticizing a man who has not unpacked his socks yet?

    CNN + FOX = Slanted

    **At least he cares! Unlike the incumbent. I understand the world leaders were disappointed to NOT talk to President-elect Obama.

    This won't make the post...Campbell Brown is probably in the house!

    November 17, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. Wendy

    "Next month"? We wish!

    November 17, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. bk

    until Obama’s swearing in next month

    there is a mistake there somewhere, i just cant put my finger on it 😉

    November 17, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. They're Smiling in Your Face, Barack

    Hey Jerk of a Govinator ....

    President Obama would deploy some federal resources to help you out but you were such an immature, sophomoric, muscle-headed jock bully type that he has reconsidered.

    When you've learned how to show the smartest guy in the room a little respect instead of backing the inept McCain – Palin squad with your BIG MOUTH – then we can talk. Until then Hasta Lavista ... Baby.

    November 17, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. Brent J.

    OMGZ! Everything he does is so awesomely awesome and wicked cool and prezidential!!11!!eleventy!!!!

    The way he acts like every other president-elect in modern history is just so amazing!

    November 17, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  8. Robert

    I hate all these predictions, let's wait and see if he can deliver. Then we can talk.

    November 17, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. Bill Tampa

    Presidential he is....we wish Jan. 20th was next month so we can start rebuilding this country.

    November 17, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  10. Soccer Nana

    What is wrong with making a telephone call to inquire about the disastrous wildfire? Who knows; perhaps he is also being invited to a meeting. The transition team, afterall, released the statement.

    Obama is not selling the magazines to people; the magazines' publishhers are "using" him to sell their magazines.

    November 17, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. White Christian Mother for Obama

    I have NEVER seen a president start taking some amount of control and set up as early as I have seen Obama do it. This man is very presidential and very ready for his position and even now he researching, studying, learning everything he can about everything so he can make the adjustments he wants quickly when he takes office. Most if see start looking at everything seriously after they take office. Obama wants to make change just like he has been fighting for and he is still working on doing it. Its just amazing!!! I feel my tax dollars that pay his salary is very worth it... VS those presidents that just sit in that seat in the oval office and do nothing on my dime while the country just wastes away!!!

    November 17, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  12. JJ in Chula Vista, CA

    I think that as much as he's kept a low profile and has been trying not to step on George Bush's feet, I'm sure Barack Obama's working diligently to make the decisions of who should be in his cabinet, even with all the opinions swirling around the news and the blogs. I, for one, think that with the election results, 48% of the people would actually be happy to see John McCain be asked to be the next Secy. of State or the next Secy. of Defense, given the confidence that the American people had in John McCain's foreign policy and military experience.

    November 17, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. Nazir Jamal

    I wish Sarah Palin would take some initiative and act prseidential, whether we like it or not I can vision Ms. Palin running against Obama and may win election by a landslide in 4 years.
    DON'T COUNT Palin Out!

    Go Palin, Go.

    November 17, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  14. Danielle, TX

    Oh, please....this article almost seems to be implying that he called and told them he was sending them help. It appears Obama only called out of concern. Sheesh...can you say "mountain out of a mole hill?"

    November 17, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  15. America demands answers

    In the nearly two weeks since Election Day, Obama has taken great pains to make it clear that President Bush remains in charge of the country and its affairs until Obama’s swearing in next month??????

    COMMON CNN!!!!

    November 17, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  16. W O W WO W


    November 17, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  17. Roger

    Houses are burning....walls of fire are threatening cities of millions of people....avalanches of flame heading towards Los Angeles.....but wait....its a bird....its a OBAMAMAN!

    He flies overhead and summons the rain gods and alas the skies open and downpurs of rain begin to even flame retardent foam is falling from the clouds....


    November 17, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  18. Inside job

    Obama should jail Paulson and Bernache as soon as he takes office.They robbed the American people of almost a trillion dollars and created the scare which is leading to this collapse.It reminds of that T.V COMMERCIAL ,where they ask you,"Whats in your wallet"?

    November 17, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  19. Tammy - KCMO

    I think it's safe to say that a majority of us wouldn't mind if Bush got dumped now and Obama took over immediately. When will you post the news on Bush's latest gift to the oil and gas industry?

    Bush can't be gone soon enough!

    November 17, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  20. Tom in Delaware

    Kevin Kline and Michael Douglas acted presidential too...big deal.

    Het, did you guys hear that BigFoot thing last summer was nothing more than a hoax!

    November 17, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  21. Carlo, Raleigh NC

    I really don't get why conservatives are in such a panic, it's amazing seeing it every where you go. Seems like over night conservatives and McCain supporters were no where to be found or heard, now you can't get away from the constant rants about how Obama is going to turn us into a communist state, palin will save the day in 4 years and even a nut job catholic priest basically breaking with official church doctrine and unilaterally making voting for Obama a sin.

    Listen people, now is the time to come together for the good of the nation. If John McCain him self can do it, then I ask you to follow suite. Hell even Mr "You're either with me or against me" George W. Bush is taking this a lot better than the over whelming majority of you. From my perspective, this appears to be the sad effects of rove politics, I hope that in 4 years you will all recover.

    November 17, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  22. Proud to be American

    It is nice to know our President elect is in touch with America.... we all know like Obama stated that there is only one President but to show sincere concern is to be applauded not condemned.... will I be spending my whole time while he is in office defending him? Give Obama a chance and take him off the microscope.


    November 17, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. BM

    This is a message for all you bigots that are wishing and hoping for Obama's presidencey to fail. Well, let me be the first to offer you a shovel to dig the hole, but make sure that you dig it deep and wide, because if by chance he should fail, you are going to have to get in that very same hole with him and don't expect McCain and Palin who you obviously voted for to pull you out.

    November 17, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. John P.


    CNN is now reporting that Barack Obama has descended from the heavens and is now in the middle of the valley fire. He has stomped out (with only his bare feet) 90% of the fire and is awaiting the thousands of firefighters to put out the other ten percent. CNN can also confirm that Barack Obama has stopped the Santa Ana winds and made them into a gentle cool zephyr.

    November 17, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. James in NJ

    Sharp thinking as always President Obama! I am so happy that you will be driving for the next four years.

    And pay no mind to the naysayers. Even Michael Jordan had and still has his critics! Some people will never be satisfied.

    November 17, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
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