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)




    November 17, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  2. alvino

    Say what you will about Obama, but you cannot accuse George Bush of acting Presidential.

    November 17, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. BM

    The only presidency Palin would be capable of running is the first dude's snowmobile club(lol) This woman would be great for to run a club for the dumbmest american.

    November 17, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  4. Appalled American

    Toot toot!!! Do you hear my horn America?

    – Barack

    November 17, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. maynard hopkins wi

    Quit all the fussing about Obama, He is not the Messia as everyone wants you dumb folks to believe. Wake up America. Worse times are ahead for a while..... Obama has no clue what to do. Just watch the bail out again on the big three..... He or congress will never learn , just thow money at it and it will disappear,,,, this is his way of him handeling things..

    November 17, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  6. David Goldman






    November 17, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  7. Your are sooo right

    HE IS ACTING – He will surround himself with people that are very knoledgeable, experienced etc. He has to, he does not have a clue. I thought he was going to be independent of Washington – looks like that was a lot of hot air – no surprise!!!

    November 17, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  8. endithinks

    We all need to take a breath. Bush is still president. Of course it is okay to show concern over these fires. Any of us who call relatives in california or who send money are doing the same thing.

    Let's at least agree that being concerned for your fellow American is still okay in this country.

    November 17, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  9. karen-phoenix

    God Bless Obama!!! He will truely care about the American people!!! He was NOT born with a silver spoon in his mouth and knows how middle America works!!! He's done his own laundry and grocery shopping. Obama truely understands!!!

    November 17, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  10. Central Scruitinizer

    Nazir Jamal. Hopefully weve seen the last of her. Listening to Sarah trying to communicate what is gratiously often mistaken for thought, I am often taken back 40- 50 years ago to the era of the cheesy Sci-fi movies. Mainly the ones with the evil robot that is meeting its final demise and as its having its "brains" beaten in by a pick ax , is still trying to deliver its monosylibic pleas for mercy as it flails and flounders around the room. Her total lack of cohesive thought and the ability to blend 3-5 sentences into one totally diconnected sentence that runs on for a paragraph is very indicative of bipolar illness stuck in manic phase. Would LUVVVVV to see those medical records!!!!!

    November 17, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  11. Ry

    Sorry, some editing is needed here. "President Bush remains in charge of the country and its affairs until Obama’s swearing in next month." Pretty sure that he isn't president until January 2009.

    November 17, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  12. California Gold

    It's dismaying to read the anger and caustic remarks directed at Obama and CNN. Let's not forget how many families are now homeless and only have the clothes on their back. The holidays are going to be grim. Families with children are going to need all the kindness and support to cope with the emotional damage of their lives going up in smoke. If anyone has suffered catastrophic loss due to acts of God you might think more about these families than using this as a platform to spew venom.

    November 17, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  13. cool onlooker

    I feel saddened by some jealous and vindicative comments here. We should count our blessings that we finally see a wise leader after this many years.

    Let go your envy and relentness. Obama is wise man.

    November 17, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  14. Lance

    To AJ:

    Who said that Obama was the Messiah? Rush Limbaugh? Really, it's time to let the bitterness go. It seems to me that the same people who were calling Obama unpatriotic for not wearing a flag pin are the truly unpatriotic ones by not rallying behind the democratically elected President of the United States. Dissent is patriotic but hatefulness isn't. The Limbaugh's, Hannitiy's & AJ's are just being hateful. May God bless you & give you relief from all the hate you're carrying around.

    November 17, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  15. Faith Restored

    Jealous Joe? LOL Guess that now that the focus is off plumbers making $250K a year you've found a new past time in between waiting for your first album and book deal to come out right? Bawhahaha

    November 17, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  16. Gayle

    Whats with the title, come on CNN.

    November 17, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  17. AL

    Does President GW Bush even know about the fires in California???

    November 17, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  18. Sue in MI

    Keep on hating him, Republicans. How long was it again before Bush reacted to 9-11? Katrina? Losing in Iraq? The housing meltdown? For goodness sakes, if Obama WASN'T taking an interest in everything going on in America, you'd be all over him for not being prepared to take office. But I guess you all want to see him fail, so you can't quite get in through your heads that he won't. Time will tell, but time will show that this man is the most intelligent President we've had in a long time. He's also the most methodical, honest, and ready. But, hey, he's half-black, so there must be something to hate, huh? And I get a kick out the the Messiah remarks...the Democrats never have called him that...that's the Republican perception.

    I wonder why you never heard us call Gov. Palin the Messiah for her hopefulness, inspiration of millions, and wonderful ideas for the betterment of the USA? Oh, right.

    November 17, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  19. SF from GA

    Well, Ry..that would be why he is called Present-elect..and not President Obama

    November 17, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  20. Jackie

    What difference does it make. Obama is the shadiest president of the U.S. ever to be elected. Who knows what he is going to do or what he wants to try to do?

    November 17, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  21. Matt

    Pretty sure he isn't being sworn in next month CNN.....

    November 17, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  22. Rob

    His only questions were:

    How's Oprah's house?

    What are you doing to protect Oprah's house?

    Or maybe, seeing as the rich people live there (the ones who are going to do their 'patriotic duty' and spread their wealth), he's making sure not too many of them have their posessions burned, so he can take them when he gets into office.

    November 17, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  23. Dave

    That's all it is as you stated: an act.

    November 17, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. BM

    It's unfortunate that Americans have less confidence in the newly elcted president than the Russians. 80% of Russians would have voted for Obama, yet his own people are still finding fault. But of couse, Jesus wasn't accepted by his own either.

    November 17, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  25. Michele

    to BM: what does Governor Palin have to do with this story? You need a chill pill.

    Wendy: You will be wishing you had Bush back in about 6 months.

    November 17, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
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