January 28th, 2009
12:38 PM ET
8 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. Rick in WA

    DC is waiting for global warming to solve their icy road problems.

    January 28, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  2. Kaseam, Florida

    I say the same sort of things to people in Tampa, FL whenever it gets to be in the 30's as the low temperature, with highs in the 50's and 60's. It only lasts a few days each year, but you couldn't tell from people's reaction.

    January 28, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  3. Mocking President

    He even mocks his own ancestors, or our founding-fathers, and their traditional Christian values.

    January 28, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  4. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    Speaking for those of us who live in the "Great White North" ... we quite often chuckle at the responses to weather that we see on the US weather forecasts. If you think its tough when you get a few flakes, try -35 celsius with a windchill factor on top of that! BTW ... -35 celsius = -31 fahrenheit.

    January 28, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  5. Scott

    I grew up in Iowa and the school superintendent's theory was "If the bars are open, the schools are open." 30s would be light coat weather and at 45 degrees we would running around in shorts and bikinis talking about the heat wave – and meaning it. One of the worst days weather-wise I had was in DC and that was with less than four inches of snow. The city was brought to a stand-still and even the Metro was out.

    January 28, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. The Future

    I just recently moved to the area from Chicago myself and was telling my colleagues the same thing.

    This is laughable!

    January 28, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. Bridgette-PA

    In winter weather, everyone must be cautious.....it really depends on the roads. Sorry Mr. President, there are way too many people being killed due to snow and ice on the roads each year. However, I still love ya!

    January 28, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. lardin

    The President is correct. When it comes to winter weather, the people of DC are wimps. They have 2 inches of snow and the whole city shuts down. Try living in Chicago, or even the northeast.

    Then you might not complain so much

    January 28, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    I used to live in Minneapolis,MN and there were times DC would look positively balmy and comfy compared what we experienced.

    January 28, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. Melissa

    I grew up in Canada. This is entirely amusing. People freak out so much about a little snow down here. I live in New Orleans and you should have seen my husband and his family running around the house and taking pictures. And then the people that I work with thinking the roof was going to cave in for less than an inch of snow that melted in an hour.

    I'm with Obama on this one.

    January 28, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  11. Billie Chace

    The reason school is cancelled is due to the conditions of the roads when ice is on them. They are treacherous and can lead to terrible accidents. Cancelling school takes many people off the road eliminating increased chances for accidents. Shut up Obama.

    January 28, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. Danny in Chicago

    You said it Mr. President! You southern folk are so soft! You make fun of us northerners when it's cold up here and you can go to the beach, but when you get a few flakes you totally freak out!

    Come on....where is your strength? Southerners are so SOFT!

    LOL

    January 28, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. The Weatherman

    I notice he still does not answer straight questions from the press that are not pre-arranged. I also notice the democrats can not seem to explain Milton Friedman's economic truths that won a Nobel prize. I guess that is why our history books lie about Roosevelt's New Deal. The democrats are now attacking Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and others. This does not shock me. The democrats still don't want to explain LBJ and the death of JFK and RFK. Don't take your freedom of speech for granted.

    January 28, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  14. karen-Phoenix

    I grew up in Chicago. I can relate! I now live in Phoenix and when it rains hard out here people panic and drive crazy!! Chicago weather can "toughen" the bravest of souls!!! I just don't want to shovel anymore snow, ever!!!

    January 28, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. Eric

    For once Mr. President, I agree you with you. Although I still had to come to work in Arlington, VA today.....

    January 28, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  16. Matt in Florida

    As usual, President Obama is right on target. I lived in DC for 4 years and people start stocking up on supplies and abandoning their cars on the side of the road every time there is a dusting of snow. It is hilarious. We had more than a foot one year and the whole city was shut down for nearly a week. Maybe the stimulus package could include a few snowplows for the district.

    January 28, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  17. Tripp

    He talks tough now, but just wait until Obama turns the big 50. He'll wish the White House was in Miami.

    January 28, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  18. Beverly Cortese

    Living in a suburb of Buffalo, New York, which people in other areas of the country think gets snow all year round, I too have to laugh at how everything south of PA stops dead in their tracks when a little snow falls. By the way folks, Chicago, Syracuse, New York, Rochester, Albany, they all get more snow than we do! Hang in there Washington DC.

    January 28, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  19. Marge

    You also have to remember that Chicago and the mid west have the equipment to remove snow such as this because they have it all the time. The problem is, these are just fleeting occurrences in DC and they don't have snow removal equipment to suck up the drifts and drop them in the Potomac.

    January 28, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  20. MW in MD

    I agree with Obama. I am from New York and the snow and ice we had here yesterday and last night would have been off the streets by now in New York. The way they handle snow in the Wash D.C. area is ridiculous! Why don't they take a cue from the Northern states?

    January 28, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  21. Amy-Texas

    Wow Really President Obama you want kids and buses to drive on ice??? What a caring man you've shown yourself to not be. Further proof of the type of man we elected. Enjoy your 4 years I hope it goes by fast.
    God Bless the common sense of the people who did cancel school to make sure children and teachers were safe today.

    January 28, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  22. BW

    I didn't vote for Obama, and I still don't agree with a lot of his ideas...but I have to be honest...the guy is likeable.

    January 28, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  23. JJ12345

    Guess its the global warming.....oh I forgot we have to call it climate change so it covers every possible situation.

    January 28, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  24. Dustin

    I felt the same way when I moved to WA from UT. It snows an inch up here and everything comes to a standstill!

    January 28, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  25. Mohammed Mohammed

    It was – 44 below zero where I am and i still had to go to school and work...BUCK UP PEOPLE

    January 28, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
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