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. Mike

    oh really please tell me who he showed his birth certificate to hometown democrat since you are sooooo informed. If the American people can't protect the constitution...then who is going to?

    November 17, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  2. GA voter

    President Bush has really lowered our expectations I must say. This would not be a news item before Katrina disaster.

    Folks – this should be a norm and not an exception. You can raise your expectations a little bit and expect our President to keep in touch with the natural disaster situations like the current one in California. There is a lot about our new President Elect that is impressive and even down right amazing, but this particular one – you can simply expect going forward from all the Presidents except for President Bush...

    November 17, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  3. MBuvia Greenwood,IN

    With the nation in crisis, I am happy to see preparations made so that Obama is President on Day 1 instead of taking a year vacation like his predecessor . Yet he is also careful of everyone's toes like Bush,Clinton, and McCains. How nice to have an intelligent, caring person getting his act together for the country, as everyone who worked to elect him is hoping for great ideas and a move forward into a positive future.

    November 17, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  4. jm for sc

    Roger, let it rest. The color of the president does not rub off so you are safe. It is just plain dumb to think that people who supported Obama was worshipping him. When people learn the difference in there president and their God, there will be less ignorance in America.

    A proud supporter, not worshipper of president elect Obama.

    November 17, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  5. tee

    The shadiest president ever is George W. Bush. You probably voted for him twice.
    I bet you thought Sarah Palin was competent as well.

    November 17, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  6. Alabama for Obama

    Obama is going to be a president of whom we can all be proud - unlike the Terrorist-in-Chief under whom we've suffered for 8 years, and who has humiliated this country for 8 years. He's not even sworn in yet, and he's shown more concern over the fires in California than Bush evidenced when Katrina devastated the gulf coast. It feels so good to be able to have some pride again.

    November 17, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  7. tee

    give it a rest or better yet you get some rest. His birth certificate is valid.
    born in the USA. Try fact check not Sean Hannity

    November 17, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    Liberals are Scary:

    At least liberals don't shoot each other in the face!

    November 17, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. Chris, NY

    "Acts presidential as he lays low?" If that isn't a contradiction... oh, wait, we were warned about this; and remember, Ayers doesn't consider himself to be a terrorist either. Yeah, this does make sense doesn't it.

    November 17, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  10. Mike


    the one on fact check is a "copy" of a birth is not his vault birth certificate though.....nice try you get a clue.

    November 17, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  11. Ken

    Obama should stay out of President Bush's time. Even through that I will be very happy to see President Bush leave, because he has caused enough messes, he is still the President.

    That said, Obama needs to focus on how he is going to give the American people all that he promised them.

    November 17, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    "President Bush REMAINS in charge"? What a polite man Obama is! As if Bush ever was in charge.
    As far as Ahnuld goes, live him alone, please. He is a better Governor and, certainly, more of a Democrat than his supposedly Democrat predecessor. Nobody is perfect, but I must admit that Schwarzenegger is better Governor than I ever expected.

    November 17, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. The Stallion & The Champ vs. The Old Mule & Winky Half-baked Alaska

    Maybe Mr. Obama should have called George Bush and John McCain to offer them cake to eat like the dynamic duo did during KATRINA while New Orleans drowned. (?) (?) (?) Funny how we never hear ANYTHING about THAT from Spawn Insanity, Blow O'Reviley or Flush Limpbone.

    November 17, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    The guy is brilliant yet so low-key. I think he will surprise a lot of people by how in the middle he governs. Im sure liberals were not to happy to her him praising Reagan again. Folks when he said ‘no red or blue states just the United States’, he meant it.

    November 17, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  15. tee

    YOU CAN SAY IT!!!!!!

    November 17, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  16. BJ

    He has no power to do anything...what a waste of a phone call.

    November 17, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  17. patricia dardy

    Americans (intelligent ones), World Leaders and everyday people around the world respect of President Elect. Let's all say good bye to George W. and wish him well. No need crying over spilled milk, yes he nearly destroyed our country. But with the blessings of God, we were smart enough to elect someone who has the intelligence and know-who to try to fix this mess.

    For those who voted for George W., we forgive you. Although, when you cast the ballot for him, you played a role in where we are today. Well, maybe it would not have made a difference whether or not you voted for him; the plan was to steal the election anyway.

    Yes, Barak Obama is very Presidential, we all need to say a prayer for him and his family.

    November 17, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  18. Bill

    I can't make a comment on other people's Hate and Bigotry, they are not worth my time. Pity is the only word I can find for them. Simple enough.

    November 17, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  19. No excuse for ignorance

    Bigots is spelled with one g.

    November 17, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  20. Get over yourselves

    I find it oddly interesting that all the negativity is coming from Repubs who really should be working. If you have time during the work-day to spew your hatred on our President-elect on company time, then I'm sure there are thousands of unemployed workers who would like to have your job. Oh...but want to blame the financial crisis and unemployment on the President-elect. Interesting. He's inheriting a mountain of debt, 2 wars, and you want to name-call? Look at yourself in the mirror. Like what you see? Shameful.

    November 17, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  21. AL

    I have to laugh, if President elect Obama didn't make a call regarding the fires burning he would be considered wrong in some mindless minds and making a call he is still wrong.. I think it was nice, he didn't interfere in the process, it's more than Bush did during Katrina and OH YES, he was the sitting president at the time.

    November 17, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  22. Viet Vet

    Then President Obama- -For 4 Years (or more)- -Get Used to it
    or leave-Home you get a good bargain on airfare.

    November 17, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  23. Noah

    If Obama does govern from the middle then I will be extremely surprised because he has never been in the middle in his entire political career. He has always legislated from the far left and forced anyone on the right to move to the left if they hoped to work with him.

    November 17, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  24. John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt

    Even though there are still Obama haters, the fact still remains that he won and he will be President of the United States effective January 20th! The only thing the haters can do is sit in their cubes at work and blog about their lonely frustrations!! More people voted for Obama-Biden and therefore more are happy about the results! The angry ones will be comsumed by their ignorance soon enough!!

    November 17, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. JL

    You mean we are finally going to have a president who responds to disasters in a timely manner? I can certainly see why CNN is dissappointed. Stability and quick, efficient, response by the government makes for boring TV compared to the Bush years. I, for one, think Obama is twice the president Bush could ever hope to be and he hasn't even been sworn in yet!

    November 17, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7