January 28th, 2009
12:38 PM ET
6 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. Global Karma

    "Mocking" is one added value that comes to the WH now :)-

    January 28, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  2. Bob in Pa

    Certain people in DC can't handle anything.

    January 28, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  3. obama-mama

    Brian January 28th, 2009 12:55 pm ET

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

    You must be calling someone in your family a moron....

    January 28, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  4. Peggy - TX

    .People make fun of us in Texas when we get a little ice, but the reality is five people died yesterday because of a little ice in Texas. I personally do drive if there is even a bit a snow or ice on the road because I do not know how to drive in the ice and neither does the rest of the people on the road. I have never been outside when it was colder then 25 degrees and I would be scared for my life in the winter time in Chicago or Canada or Alaska. But, it is ok to make fun of me as I will be making fun of New Yorkers when they are acting like it is a crisis that they have a few days of 90 degrees.

    January 28, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. Don U

    I can not wait for the earth cooling to start. That migh help lower our heating bill. I want to know how hot it must get to freeze the earth or how cold it must get to warm the earth. I know a idiot like Al could tell us. He is just stupid along with the other enviromnet wacos.

    January 28, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  6. Jon in CA

    Obama just doesn't get it. It's called "CHILD SAFETY".

    DC isn't as prepared as cities who regularly gets ice/snow. But because you think it's "silly" – let's put hundreds of school buses on the ice-slick streets of DC.

    Kids will be bleeding and crying after the accidents – but hey – at least they won't be perceived as "wimpy" by Pres BO.

    January 28, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. Romney2012

    Hey OBama....I wouldn't cite Chicago as an example for anything....higher murder rate last year than combat deaths in Iraq...yeah...what a model...and we have it's prodigal son...what a treat.

    January 28, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. Virginia

    He is welcome to go back to Chicago.....

    January 28, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. Beth from Virginia

    Mr. Obama is right. I live here in DC where I moved from New England 20 years ago. I've always been amazed at the way this area panics at the first hint of snow. Did you notice that even his daughter thought it was wimpy to close the schools?

    January 28, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. Rolling in the Aisles, VA

    Get a grip, haters.
    "Dictatorship?" "Individualism?" "Insult your neighbors?"
    Bush gives the "one fingered victory salute" and not a blink. This guy cracks on DC being "Chicken Littles" at the hint of snow and he gets...
    OUTRAGE!
    Did the storm keep you from getting your Prozac delivery yesterday? Lighten up. Hell will freeze over before the knee jerk, know-nothing haters grow up...

    January 28, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. fat john

    What a bunch of sissies in D.C. !!!!
    I'm in Minnesota where it's 0 degrees right now and there's ice everywhere and I'm about to go out and have lunch.
    The beat goes on!!!!!!!!

    January 28, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  12. AnaB

    @ Val in MA "Oh boy. Here we come, dictatorship at its best."

    ___________________________________

    Oh please, dictatorship because he made a joke about the weather?!? I live in Iowa and the first snow/ice storm of every year we all joke that everyone has lost their ability to drive. It's a joke for crying out loud!

    January 28, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  13. Angie in Pa

    Compared to Chigago Washington must be like living in FL for him and his Family hahahah

    January 28, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  14. Cassandra

    Thanks,

    January 28, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  15. chompy mc chomperstein

    So true. Granted, Washington isn't very well equipped to handle the snow. Then again, Washington isn't well equipped to handle much of anything.

    January 28, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. Liza

    You have got to be kidding me. Is that all it takes to get you Pres. Obama-haters worked up? It was a joke – pure and simple. I grew up in Chicago and I now live in Virginia and both areas just handle winter weather differently. Sure, Chicago NEVER shuts down and Virginia shuts down, especially where I live, as soon as the forecast predicts snow. Ok – I'm kidding now. I am actually quite fond of Virginia's and neighboring D.C.'s policy to close down when the snow is on the way. I don't want anyone around me to "toughen up" in this area. I like it this way – but would I really get upset because President Obama made such a light-hearted suggestion. I'm sure President Obama is not drafting an executive order to "toughen up" the folks in the area so calm down. Lighten up people – I'm sure you will have more substantial issues to complain about in the future.

    January 28, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. Jen in Syracuse

    Val in MA- what was that all about? You are REALLY reaching there.

    January 28, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. Bill the Chicagoan

    President Obama would have more of a chance convincing Republicans to put the country's good before party idiology than getting Washingtonians to adopt a Chicago-view of inclement weather.

    Neither is likely to happen during his presidency.

    January 28, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  19. Peter (CA)

    How does a story about some playful teasing become a testament to Obama being a dictator?

    Wow, you right wingers really need to get a grip.

    January 28, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  20. Bob

    Funny stuff originally From Minneapolis,MN and now live in suburban Washington,D.C. school has been cancelled for 2 DAYS....for 1 1/2 inch of snow....it ridculous...oh well our 2 kids like it...school was cancelled in MN if it was a blizzard or -30 below without windchill...

    January 28, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  21. Dan, TX

    With this economy, there should be no jokes, levity or happiness of any kind by anyone. Anyone who makes a joke or laughs at one is unAmerican and should be in jail.

    January 28, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  22. Tracy, Chicago, IL

    I'm from Chgo and I agree with President Obama. The only time a school or a business, close in Chgo due to the weather is when the furnace or pipe breaks but never directly because of the weather especially snow. It can be 30 below zero & windy or a blizzard, if the furnace it working & no busted pipes, you are expected to attend even if the streets are not plowed. I understand the South, since cold & snow are rare but DC, yes they are whiners. I guess we have bigger things here to whine about like the ridiculous dibs parking in here Chgo after a snow storm

    January 28, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  23. Beat this!

    Don't worry, Mr. President. I live in Virginia Beach and my son's school was cancelled at the THREAT of snow! We sat at home all day and never saw a single snowflake! I used to live in Michigan, so I understand your amusement.

    January 28, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  24. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Where is Al Gore's global warming when you need it? Some food for thought about global warming.

    January 28, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  25. sensible Cape Coral FL

    Have we Americans really lost our sense of humor? When that goes. there's no hope left at all

    January 28, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
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