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. Obama Victim

    pretty arrogant.............now that is change we can believe in

    January 28, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  2. walleye

    A little humor never hurts unless you have a bone to pick. I actually never thought "O" had a sense of humor. Maybe he should also lighten up on Biden. His humor was even funnier. Living in Colorado we have learned to drive in all kinds of weather. I usually dont stay home unless the snow is more than 8 inches.

    January 28, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  3. Oh! The Irony

    It's hilarious to see posters upset at the President's obvious jestful statement. They must be bitter and clinging to their road salt.

    January 28, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. John from San Diego

    To "Val in MA"

    So now that Bush is out you become a believer in thinking for yourself?

    January 28, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  5. Washington Insider

    While it was probably meant as a joke, the rest of you who say DC should operate as normal are completely clueless. DC is not a State and as such it is a District. They do not (nor should they) have equipment to handle ice storms, because they happen so infrequently.

    The Midwest and the Northeast are better equiped to handle this, because that is a much more frequent occurance up there. So before everyone goes "I agree with President Obama" read your facts.

    Now for all of you who say President Obama was being elitist...it was clearly a joke so get over it.

    January 28, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  6. JFB

    Val in MA,

    As the rest of your argument contains the logic of a complete idiot, I can only assume you mean the President would fit in well with leaders like Castro and Chavez because of his similar skin color? I guess he would kind of "blend in" from that standpoint, I guess you're right. Well now, wait just a dog-gone minute! Castro is in his 80's, right?! Are you saying our President looks old and wrinkly?? How dare you!!

    Eat crow, Val. We have a black man in the Oval Office!

    January 28, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  7. Mike

    Well, the Goracle is in town you know.

    January 28, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  8. John G

    O'Hare routinely shuts down for snow

    January 28, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  9. Chris

    Brian – That's very disrespectful to call our President a Moron. Did your parents teach you anything about respect?

    He was just joking. Let him screw something up first before you start with the name calling.

    January 28, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  10. Wills Hopkins

    Obama mocked the entire country before his election. Why would anyone expect anything different after the election?

    January 28, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  11. Pete

    School in the Chicago Public schools is pretty much cancelled every day. I guess if you go to a private school, he has a point.

    January 28, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  12. Laura

    Do you have to donate to CNN or something to get your comments posted? I see the same names getting their comments posted, sometimes multiple ones a day, but I've let hundreds to date and have not gotten a single one posted. It's really disheartening, CNN

    January 28, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  13. Peggy - TX

    Regarding the comment by VA in MA – May be you should have been a citizen of a country like Cuba or Venezuela, its not too late (you can apply to go there) since you clearly hate the United States of America as indicated by the hate filled lies about our democratically elected leader.

    January 28, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  14. Kurt

    Ok, Repubs flip out over a simple joke in 3...2....1..

    January 28, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  15. Anthony

    I live in Arlington and even thought it was ridiculous how people reacted over a little snow. Even after all the news last year about DC adding more plows, replacing all their old plows and putting all the drivers through new training. They even came up with a new plan to make clearing the city of snow and ice easier. Seems like a waste of money if they are still going to shut everything down.

    January 28, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  16. arc, Lugano CH

    Ray January 28th, 2009 12:49 pm ET
    Insult your neighbors – that's a good way to make friends, Barack.
    Open mouth – insert foot – rely on O-bots for defense of said insult.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Oh dear. You take things way too seriously. Sweetest Ray, let go of your anger. And then you can become a Ray of Sunlight.

    Having lived in places with more snow, I must say, Washington doesn't deal well with winter and the little snow it does receive.

    It's going to be okay, Ray. You are loved.

    January 28, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  17. geecee

    Sure, criticize him for suggesting people toughen up a little and live up to their responsibilities without allowing a bit of snow and cold to stop us from performing our duties. Horrors! He dare not speak to such matters. Keep us a nation of wimps, Mr. President.

    January 28, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  18. james

    I think Obama ought to call one of his mob buddies that hung out with Tony Rezko, like maybe Freddy The Lip Rosano, and get him to come to DC and beat some sense into some people.

    January 28, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  19. Pres. Obama

    Now if hell was freezing over...

    January 28, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. Tina, NC

    Living in NC I understand where the people in Washington are coming from on this. If we get a few inches of snow everyone freaks out because everyone is scared to drive in the snow. At the first snowflake all the bread and milk are gone from the grocery store.

    I bet the Obama girls aren't complaining about the "no school" policy though.

    January 28, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  21. Art in Chicago

    Shannon, using your logic...money shouldn't be spent after 9/11 for things that have not been used in 8 years.

    I certainly take some liberties with the above statement, but I'm not sure even in Chicago equipment is immobilized for such a small amount of precip.

    Streets and San garbage trucks can be retrofitted with plows, we are not talking huge expenditures.

    Traffic on pavement can assist, even if salt or sand is unavailable. Temps will be rising as well.

    January 28, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  22. pooh

    School Closing!!! In Atlanta, the chance/thought of snow causes the entire city to shut down. Not only do all the schools close, people will raid the grocery store for water, milk, cereal, eggs etc. based on the chance of snow.

    We can't get cold rain without the schools closing because the rain MAY FREEZE.

    January 28, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  23. J.P.

    I love it... Al Gore waddles up to Washington to hock his wares of "Global Warming and impending doom" on yet another frigid Washington snow day... a day that paralyzes the capital and practically shuts down the federal government via absenteeism.

    Al, your timing could not possibly be worse.

    I can just hear Chicken Little Gore now, "No, really, I mean it... it's really going to get warm. I mean it this time... "

    January 28, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  24. Maryann Rose

    LOL! It is hilarious that those who do not like Obama will take every opportunity to criticize EVERYTHING he does and says. Even joking about the weather.

    You guys are SO predictable!

    January 28, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  25. paulaj

    I grew up in NW Pennsylvania Allegheny Mtns... the school buses followed the plows and we went to school every day... never had a snow day Kindergarten thru Gr 12... in January it was 30 below and we always had a least 3 days a week of snow or ice storms... when we came home from school, my mother would send us out for "fresh" air!!

    January 28, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
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