January 28th, 2009
12:38 PM ET
7 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. Concerned in MA

    Hey Obama... maybe your kids don't have to walk to school or ride a bus, but most do.

    How would you like it if your kids got into an accident "because of some snoflakes"???

    idiot...

    January 28, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. Andy Carlsen

    Believe me, you people, Obama is mocking everything American, including snow in DC. Get real, The One hates America and its diversity.

    January 28, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  3. HouseDiva

    I know what Obama means..when I was a kid our superintendent was from the Colorado mountains, and she rarely canceled school for us because Missouri snow is minor compared to the Colorado snow.

    I hope the first daughters enjoy their first snow day at the white house.

    January 28, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  4. Kevin in DC

    I second his mockery. As a Vermonter who has lived in DC for 3 years, I welcome President Obama's derision!

    January 28, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  5. Mike

    So lets put his kids on a bus on roads that aren't prepped and are icey and see what he says when the bus slides off the road into a ditch. But being as his kids are escorted to a private school it armored cars I'm sure he could care a less. The thing he has to remember is that we don't have the equipment like Chicago does to handle these storms, albeit this one being pretty mild.

    January 28, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  6. Chris, Albany, NY

    I agree, if you live anywhere except the Northeast, Midwest and the Pacific Northwest you need to toughen up. We endure a winterlong blitz of snow, freezing rain, sleet and blizzards. We can handle anything! I lived in NC for a few years and anytime there's a hint of any winter weather things just shut down. Come on peeps...toughen up!

    January 28, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. Anne

    It's funny because it's true. I grew up in this area, but went to upstate NY for college. I just have to roll my eyes every time the city goes into panic mode and shuts down over an inch of snow.

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

    Wow Val. So because Obama makes a few light-hearted comments about SNOW, you call him a dictator and TROLL about how he doesn't understand individualism?

    Can we say TROLL!!! Loudly?

    The fact is, it was just a joke. But trolls have no humor, I suppose.

    January 28, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  9. Jesse

    Wow Val. So because Obama makes a few light-hearted comments about SNOW, you call him a dictator and TROLL about how he doesn't understand individualism?

    Can we say TROLL!!! Loudly?

    The fact is, it was just a joke. But trolls have no humor, I suppose.

    January 28, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  10. Richard Brown Cazenoovia, NY

    Next time I hear obambi say "folks" I'm going to puke. It "people" stupid!

    January 28, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. Matt

    Please...there's no insult here...this is just hypersensitive whiney bitter sour-grapes from GOPers who can't take some friendly ribbing. Go cry in your strained peas and leave the work of the country to the adults.

    January 28, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  12. steve

    of couse his kids school was cancelled...it is a private school run by liberals who cannot handle even an inch of snow/ice...i grew up in buffalo and we would laugh at the city/towns that would close for this amount of snow...and is everything obama says news worthy...well when was the last time he had a bowel movement i bet cnn would post that

    January 28, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  13. Scott, Lexington KY

    I hear that!!
    I'm a Chicagoan now living in KY, and the kids will have school cancelled if there's a half inch of snow. Sheesh.

    January 28, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  14. Josh

    Duh, Obama.... they close the schools to keep the kids at home and safe. D.C does not have the equipment to plow properly; bus drivers do not know how to handle the buses in those conditions. It just makes sense. Now if Obama wants to be a "tough guy" and get the buses on the road and one happens to be in an accident, then the blood will be on his hands. Why does Obama shoot his mouth off about stuff he knows nothing about? Fix the economy and leave the good people of D.C. alone.

    January 28, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  15. Russ

    On the other hand, here in Evanston, just north of Chicago, they refused to close schools during our recent bitter cold snap when the Fahrenheit temperature dipped below -18 degrees and the wind chill was -30 degrees. I thought that was rather excessive and irresponsible on the school districts part. There are plenty of school children who walk to school in our area. We decided to keep our daughter home that day.

    January 28, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. Matt

    "DC residents are used to derision from chillier quarters of the country over their city’s occasional paralysis in the face of winter weather."

    They should also be used to derision over their country's constant paralysis in the face of partisan shenanigans.

    January 28, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  17. Richard Brown Cazenoovia, NY

    you mean "awaiting censorship?'

    January 28, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. azk

    a) that city goes into a tizzy over RAIN
    b) sand gives traction on ice

    January 28, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  19. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Zee January 28th, 2009 12:44 pm ET
    This was funny, but you know what else is funny, how every little comment the President says becomes a news story.

    You must have missed the story yesterday. Someone held a door open for Obama and he said "thank you". It was VERY Presidential. I feel the turnaround in America already!

    January 28, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  20. Kevin

    Hey folks, nothing wrong with a little good-natured ribbing.

    January 28, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  21. Vegas Barbie the Paralegal for Obama

    Being a native of Northwest Pennsylvania, myself, I have to say that Pres. Obama is right on in his observation, as is his daughter on her noting that school was never cancelled in Chicago! It was a rare occurrence and we would have to wait a half hour for the bus sometimes, just standing in sometimes 2 feet deep snow! Although, I must say I think it is not as much a function of geography as it is the times, too, as even my hardy, humble hometown now cancels school at the THREAT of an ice or snow storm...we had to endure it, but I think they are being softer on kids now...having just made that statement so stereotypical of "the older generation" back in MY day, I now feel officially "old" at the ripe old age of 42

    January 28, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  22. LIBERAL FOR LIFE

    to Val in MA – Get a life, it was a joke you ignorant moron

    January 28, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  23. Ryane

    I love my new President!!!

    With that being said, "President Obama I can not stand snow, ice or sleet, so closing down the city is always a good idea to me when the that stuff is on the ground". I do not like to skate out of my house and I was literally skating to the Metro this morning. LOL

    Again, I just love my new President but lay off us DC residents, we are not use to that kind of weather. Enjoy your day off Sasha!!!

    January 28, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  24. Adele

    Am in Toronto and the snow outside is terrible and all schools are opened.

    January 28, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  25. obama-mama

    To all the clowns that are taking this so seriously on here. The man is only kidding. Good grief. Poor guy can't even make a joke. Everybody is so tense because this man is president. That's terrible.

    January 28, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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