January 28th, 2009
12:38 PM ET
9 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. Living in LA

    Let's just move the White House and government to LA. An earthquake now and then aint so bad :)

    January 28, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  2. Jenn

    WOW slow news day

    January 28, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. Obama Fan

    Oh brother. People , meaning Repubs, need to lighten up a bit. Have a sense of humor for goodness sake! It was a joke.

    January 28, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  4. gENO

    Obama doesn't consider that most parents have to get their kids to school on their own. Their kids aren't delivered by limo, with secret service agents watching.

    January 28, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. Sye the Pychic

    Let it snow,let the cold wind blow and dont forget to sign the anti Limbaugh petition at dccc.org.

    January 28, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  6. Greg Hodges

    Canadians laugh themselves silly watching some parts of the U.S.

    January 28, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  7. Chaco

    Val in MA – Sheesh – Lighten up! He was joking. It was a JOKE, get it? He's not becoming dictatorial simply because he made a funny comment about DC not handling weather.

    We lived in Alaska for 20 years and now we are in the south. We, too, make jokes about everything closing down at the very threat of snow. I have a good friend who just moved south from Colorado and when it snowed here last week, she was the only one to show up for work. It is a joke and the President was JOKING. Some of you people over-react to the point of sounding ridiculous. hahaha, he teased about school closing, so now he's becoming a dictator...gimme a break, Val.

    January 28, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  8. Malcolm

    Now we know why there are no lay-offs in the media. You keep your jobs by making news from anything. SMART!

    January 28, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  9. Amber

    Val in MA –

    I am just DYING to know what exactly you're on about...
    Especially since your assumed party took the USA further toward collectivism than any other government in our history.

    Or did your morning talk radio not discuss that this morning.

    January 28, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  10. chitown lady

    Oh my God...they got 2in of snow and a tad bit of sleet...SCHOOL CLOSED.....Are you kidding me here....BUCK IT UP YOU WIMPS......you haven't seen anything...you haven't felt anything until you fell -25 air temp with a -50 degree wind chill....you have got to be kidding me......If we closed up evrytime we had 2inch snow fall or a tad bit of sleet......We would be hibernating til March..Don t be such baby's.....Even Obama's kids know what a real winter is........

    January 28, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  11. Lorelei in Toronto

    You people need to get a sense of humour. Good God.

    January 28, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. Mary

    I am in north Texas where we had ice and sleet overnight . The problem here is that we have it so seldom no one is prepared to deal with it, whether it is the government with sand and ice or the public with their inability to drive due to inexperience with these weather conditions.

    January 28, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  13. Matt

    This post is in response to the Rush article...No more comments are being alowed on it. If you would actually take a moment to listen to what Rush said you would understand that he wants Obama's policies to fail because he does not believe they will be good for Amercia. Rush is being taken out of context. Please be informed and take time to understand where some one is coming from before you throw them under the bus. Rush wants America to be succesfull as most of us do.

    January 28, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  14. Soccer Nana

    @VAl in MA, get a grip hater. The President has a right to joke and make comparisons to whatever he likes. Have you ever heard of "icebreakers"? Here's a hint, you use those to bring ease to attendees at meetings. So cynical.

    January 28, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  15. Litamarie

    You folks on here that are "offended" are hilarious!!! Get the you know what, out of your you know what! He thinks DC is weaker than Chicago when it comes to snow, SO WHAT! Just say you don't want to accept CHANGE and go on about your day.....

    January 28, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  16. Lorelei in Toronto

    You people need to get a sense of humour. Good God.
    By the way, we're expecting 11 inches of snow in Toronto today... I spent almost 2 hours this morning before work playing in it with my dog. Most of you could benefit from doing the same – good for body, mind and sense of humour. I'm sitting at my desk now and public transit will take me home tonight at 5 – on time.

    January 28, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  17. Amber

    You think DC's bad? It's 60 degrees in LA today and people are wearing ski jackets!!

    January 28, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  18. Penny

    When we were transferred to DC during my husbands Marine Corps tour, we had to laugh everytime they shut down the govenment and the schools. My favorite was these two guys on the radio, whenever it showed would start saying – MILK, BREAD, TOLIET PAPER.

    It was funny. Maybe you had to be there.

    January 28, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  19. Gretta

    As other people have stated, the difference between Chicago and DC is that Chicago gets this stuff all the time and is equipped to handle it, whereas DC isn't. Plus you have a whole lot of folks who don't know how to drive in the snow out there – which makes it even more scary.

    But I suspect that Sasha and Malia will soon learn what most Southern children learn – we don't complain about snow days, we look forward to them and take advantage of them. Not like they don't have any fun things to be doing at their new home!

    January 28, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  20. james

    Or he could call his school system pal and domestic terrorist Bill Ayres and have him blow up a couple of buildings to get the message. Except Ayres is so incompetent he might not get the job done.

    January 28, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  21. Franky

    "God hates you
    God loves me
    We're a happy family
    With a great big hug
    And a blasphemy to you
    You can't say he loves you too..."

    LOL!!!!

    You think the GOP are divisive and bogus, then they haven't meet us. We are old school to the bone and trsut me, we are more divisive than right wing conservatives, we are more strict than that. LOL!!!

    "He's the greatest dancer....that I ever seen."

    January 28, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  22. LYLY

    SERIOUSLY PEOPLE IT IS A FREAKING JOKE, YOU DAMN REPUBLICANS JEEZ GET A GRIP

    January 28, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  23. Greg Hodges

    Canadians laugh themselves silly over how parts of the U.S. come to a screeching halt at the first signs of snow. While the northern states obviously have learned to cope just fine; when one sees drivers in the south hopelessly out of control everytime a few flakes fall, we feel as though some winter training sessions might be the order of the day.

    January 28, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  24. Steve

    It's actualy all about lawsuits. A school bus goes into a minor skid and taps into something and you can bet the lawyers will swoop in like sharks in a feeding frenzy

    January 28, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  25. REAL real american

    He was being humourous people! jeez, no matter there are no funny conservatives (with the exception of Dennis Miller).

    January 28, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
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