January 28th, 2009
12:38 PM ET
10 months ago

Obama mocks Washington's winter panic

Congress is surrounded.
Congress is surrounded.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Despite ambitious post-9/11 security measures, Washington does remain alarmingly vulnerable to one recurring airborne threat: the humble snowflake.

DC residents are used to derision from chillier quarters of the country over their city’s occasional paralysis in the face of winter weather. After a few inches of snow and some early morning sleet in the first half of the week resulted in a wave of Washington-area shutdowns, the city’s most famous Midwestern transplant couldn’t resist a dig or two at his new hometown’s expense.

"My children's school was canceled today, because of what? Some ice," President Obama told a group of business leaders visiting the White House Wednesday.

"As my children pointed out, in Chicago school is never canceled," he said, adding that his daughter Sasha observed that schoolchildren there would even have recess outdoors.

The president joked that he would have to instill some “flinty Chicago toughness” into his neighbors. "When it comes to the weather, folks in Washington don't seem to be able to handle things.”

That lesson may have to wait for the next winter storm: after a late-day wave of precipitation, DC's forecast for tomorrow is sunny, with highs in the upper 30s.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (211 Responses)
  1. Serra

    U go! We've go a foot here and expecting more, Its winter folks, deal with it!

    January 28, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. Psbro

    Finally he said something I agre with. I was stuck in DC once because of an ice storm, the idiots were putting sand down. SAND???????
    I could not believe the capital of the most powerful nation on the planet (at that time) couldn't deal with ice.
    Teach Obama...teach.

    January 28, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. Zee

    This was funny, but you know what else is funny, how every little comment the President says becomes a news story.

    January 28, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Having spent three years in Chicago a number of years ago......I can relate to what President Obama is getting at. Winter in D.C. is a walk in the park compared to what people in Chicago experience each year. I've never been so cold in my life as I was those years in Chicago......swore I'd go to a desert environment and stay......and I did, and I have.

    January 28, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. Simmy

    Funny.

    January 28, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I have to say that DC in this regard is a Southern city. Most people there don't have the experience of driving in snow. The react like little old ladies who break for everything.

    January 28, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. Ray Ray

    Insult your neighbors – that's a good way to make friends, Barack.

    Reminds me of his quip to Hillary, "Your ok, Hillary" when asked if she was likeable person.

    Open mouth – insert foot – rely on O-bots for defense of said insult.

    January 28, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  8. Karl

    That's funny. The delegations and representatives from the Southern states must be reeling, saying "Show Off!"

    January 28, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  9. Todd

    There you go, Pres....Let's start mocking those in your new town! Way to extend the hand of friendship and understanding.

    January 28, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. EC

    I know what you mean Mr. President. I lived in Alaska and they NEVER closed the schools but once during a white out in the 6 years I lived there. Here a snowflake falls and everyone panics.

    January 28, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  11. John Harris

    If you Demos can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen! The playing filed does not always have to be level in your favor! Ol Rush is spot on in his assessments of you Liberals. He exposes your innuendoes, platitudes and la-de-da's all the time. Your attempt at talk radio to counter him was a dismal failure! The rest of the world has a right to express their thoughts, and too even disagree with you mean spirited socialists with out fear of any reprisal or repercussion either! Otherwise we have nothing more than a communist state!

    January 28, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  12. naqib

    Global Warming is out of control... someone call Gore!

    January 28, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. Brian

    Good idea, insult the new neighbors in the community...that usually goes over well. Moron

    January 28, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  14. Harold Melamed

    Being originally from Minnesota, I have to agree with Sasha and our President. We need those folks on the east coast to toughen up a little. Which is very easy for me to say as I moved to Arizona and it's going to be a blistering cold 65 today with a windchill at 62. Brrrrrrrrr.

    January 28, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  15. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    The toughness missing from Washington does nott relate only with the winter weather! It also relates to not having the toughness to face and accept change that the american people are asking from their politicians to step up to the plate!

    January 28, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  16. AJ

    Lol...I live in Texas. And just the thought of ice on the roads closes businesses and schools all over the city. We don't deal with ice/snow well down here!

    January 28, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  17. WE THE PEOPLE

    i WISH OBAMA WOULD GET THIS TOUGH ABOUT REPEALING BUSH'S TAX CUTS FOR THE ELITISTS, THE PATRIOT ACT,ILLEGAL WITRETAPPING, AND GETTING RID OF THE "NOT FEDERAL AT ALL" FEDERAL RESERVE BANKS.

    IN THE CONSITUTION IT CLEARLY STATES TO PRINT AND/OR COIN OUR OWN CURRENCY...SO WHY ARE WE PAYING TRILLIONS IN INTEREST TO PRIVATELY OWNED BANKS WHICH THE PUBLICKNOWS AS THE FEDERAL RESERVE.

    WE SHOULDNT BE PAYING INTEREST TO THESE PRIVATELY OWNED BANKS TO PRINT OUR OWN CURRENCY...

    January 28, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. Val in MA

    Oh boy. Here we come, dictatorship at its best.

    President Obama should have been a president of countries like Cuba or Venezuela – he'd fit perfectly with leaders like Castro and Chavez.

    We are not collective thinkers here in U.S., Mr. President, we are individual thinkers. What may be good for you or for your daughters may not necessary be good for every individual citizen of this great country. it's time you learn this little nuance called "individualism".

    January 28, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. Shannon

    The difference is that Washington DC, because it doesn't experience winter weather at the same level that Chicago does, isn't as equipped (and they aren't as equipped because situations like today are not an every day occurrence in D.C. and therefore it would be wasteful to spend money to prepare for something like this that only comes along every so often like it does in D.C. as opposed to every day or every other day like it does in Chicago) to deal with it and therefore they shut down.

    January 28, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  20. Marie

    Before he's criticized for saying what he said it was just a joke.

    January 28, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  21. Adriana RM

    Hey. Mr President. being a former resident of the NE now living in Atlanta. I can vouch for the ice, I slide my then brand new Honda Odyessy into a tree and caused 5k worth of damage.

    January 28, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  22. RON BARTLETT

    WAKE UP AMERICA,THE SCIENCENTIFIC COMMUNITY DOES RECONIZE' THE DANAGER WE FACE,THIS DANGER IS REAL,LOOK AT WHEATHER,OUR POLUTED OCEANS,THE CONTINUED LOSE OF SPIECES,THERE IS NO REASON MAN CANNOT PASS AS WELL!

    January 28, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  23. Veteran in Kansas

    Being from the midwest I hear where President Obama's coming from. The first time I was on the East coast and snow stayed on the ground it was shear panic. Buisnesses and governmental agencies were saying they should have closed earlier before it started sticking.

    January 28, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  24. JB, DE

    Is someone going to get uppity became Obama made a joke?

    RE the Jill Biden post: the logic of some of you people is ridiculous. The implication seems to be that Dr. Biden 'stole' someone else's position. It seems that some people think because Joe Biden has a good paying job, Dr. Biden shouldn't continue teaching. So let me get this straight – if one spouse has a high paying job, the other should simply stop working so as not to "steal" a job from someone else?

    What a joke.

    January 28, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  25. Karen

    One day the schools here in Nashville closed because of less than an inch of snow. When I told my sister in Canada the news, she said they had thirteen inches that day and her kids went to school. I can understand problems in areas where snow is unusual and removal equipment isn't available, but........ half an inch? President Obama is right.

    January 28, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
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