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. kevin

    Watch it with the "east coast" generalizations. NY is east coast and gets walloped with snow and ice every year and we're pro winter drivers. Chicago isn't even on the right side of the lake to deal with lake effect snow like we get here.

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

    What a MORON.
    He has now idea what it's like here in DC during a snow shower, ice storm, or even a dusting......these people here can NOT drive in this mess! I am from Maine.....believe me we had school all the time even when it snowed....but down here is another story. He's so interested in climate change, global warming....what about geographical change....You're not in Chicago anymore DORK. He such a RICH SNOB along with his pals (Reid, Pelosi & other Democrats!). We had 3 school bus accidents in Charles County Maryland alone yesterday with an INCH of snow..........these people are not use to driving in this crap....get over it OBAMA – safety is more important than your elitist views. Good Luck DC, with his attitude, the Gov't will never close again for Snow!

    January 28, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. Franky

    LOL!!!!

    January 28, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. LYLY

    GET A GRIP PEOPLE HE WAS JOKING

    January 28, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. Chipster

    Doesn't anyone have a sense of humor anymore? How do you make the leap from school closings to dictators in Cuba? from icy roads to tax cuts? from winter weather to resistance to change?

    Lighten up!

    January 28, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  6. The T

    Virginia resident, formal Chicagoean, I can say also I wish we had these days when I was in school. Mr. President is right on we joke as well about the schools closing, it's all in fun....CVS in the House 2100 E. 87th St. Class of 1979

    January 28, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. Meh

    Some of you need to seriously lighten up & remove the sticks from your spincters.
    It was a joke.

    January 28, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. NJHussein330

    GEEZZ he was joking around making small talk...and everyone gets all in a tizzy...pathetic
    In other news...

    January 28, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  9. Shea

    Some of you folks need to lighten up. The man can't even joke around without people getting bent out of shape over trivial comments. You must never make sarcastic comments to your friends I guess.

    January 28, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  10. Jon

    I've lived in New Mexico, Detroit, and DC. Yeah, we Detroiters put those DC folks to shame when it comes to digging ourselves out of snow. Of course, if we ever had a wildfire in Michigan we'd look like keystone cops trying to fight it. Now, up in the mountains in NM we had to deal with heavy snowfall in the winter, wildfires in the summer, near-drought conditions at all times. I guess if you hit Chicago or Detroit with conditions like that a bunch of New Mexicans would be looking at us laughing asking us to "toughen up" too. So, having lived there, I cut the DC residents some slack.

    January 28, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  11. TjayeInLA

    LOL...I love our new President, but man oh man is he a GEEK!

    Dude...it's cold out. Cold:BAD...Warm: GOOD. We have that very clear here in Los Angeles. lol

    January 28, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  12. Jan Illinois

    Obamas right. Just a decent excuse for those in Washington goverment to not work Again.

    January 28, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  13. musician

    If Limbaugh got his way we`d all be living in a country run by the rich, for the rich. The middle class will disappear, the social safety net will be dismantled, government will be reduced to `the Pentagon` and will then be outsourced to the most politically connected, our environment will soon resemble the island of Haiti, the health system will exist only for the privileged and the press will be, well, him. He`ll be the King of Dittoheadland.

    January 28, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  14. sandra wills

    re: Rush Limbaugh

    What is the matter with all you liberals???? Have you lost your minds? NOW you are trying to tell people who to listen tO????
    Some people LIKE RUsh Limbaugh and its their right to do so!
    He makes a lot of sense...and THIS i s proving it more and more.
    and I personally heard the entire interview and he did not say he hopes he fails....it was ONLY regarding his policies...Its just like you people and the liberal media to take it totally out of context to make it fit what YOU want! MY GOD...what is this world coming to!!!!!!

    January 28, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  15. idm

    Lighten up, people! He was making a humorous observation, and I don't think anyone in DC "took offense". A large number of them come from states who have serious winters, and they probably think the same thing! Why do you take everything so seriously???

    January 28, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  16. Logic reigns

    Point may be valid, but delivery and comment was not presidential or helpful in creating goodwill at this time.

    Am reminded of old adage: don't pee in your own cornflakes.

    January 28, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  17. a newly blue state-VA

    Grow up! It's a common thing for northerners to say that people in the South can't handle a little bit of snow/ice. I live in the South and I have heard this all of my life. It's a joke. Get over it!

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

    Its truely sad how some hate this man so much that they even try to turn his light-hearted jokes into him being "elitest", and "getting tough" on his new neighbors, etc.... PEOPLE! IT WAS A JOKE! J-O-K-E! Its sad how many nutty people we have in this country....And these people actually get to vote! Scary.... Reminds me of the movie Idiocracy

    January 28, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  19. undecided

    chicago is better equipped because of all the hot air them sleezy politicians breath. also chiucago uses, oh no, salt on thier roads were ecologically correct d.c. doesn't

    January 28, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  20. emjay

    I will have to get used to our new President's condescending humor in our faces 24/7. I went 12 days without power in new england in December . Pipes burst, and icy trees fell on my house. I don't know what am I whining about anyway. Even the royal daughters are more hardy than I.

    January 28, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  21. Lyle

    Perhaps Mr. Obama should pack up his bag of tricks and move himself and his family back to Chicago.

    January 28, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  22. AL

    I vacationed in Orlando last week, high's were anywhere from 57 to 78 degrees. When I landed at the Orlando airport it was 67 and the workers at the airport had on winter jackets, hats, gloves and scarves. On the day that it was 78 we were sitting with our feet in the pool, (heated) and the life gurard had on a jacket and gloves. I felt like I was in the the twilet zone.

    January 28, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  23. ChicagoJim

    It's all relative. I grew up in southern Georgia where it was unusual ever to see snow (an inch or 2 every 6-8 years). I lived in Atlanta, GA where an 2 inches of snow (every 2-3 years) could easily paralyze that huge city. Then I move to Chicago, IL and it took 6-8 inches to get everyone in an uproar. Then I moved to Bangor, ME where in winter my routine was to go outside and swipe 10 inches of snow off the top of the car. The guy who plowed the driveway had a scaled fee: $15.00 for up to 15 inches. Above 15 inches, the fee was $20.00. We paid the $20.00 about 2-3 times per winter. So, I find all statements about snow amusing, which is as it should be, since, to me, snow is the most magical of all weather phenomena and totally worthy of the most mirth. You go, Barack!

    January 28, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  24. Erik S.

    As a fellow Chicagoan, I totally agree with Obama! Ice? Please! Maybe he is the man to instill some Chicago toughness in soft little D.C.

    January 28, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  25. dinah

    Dear Obama. Have pity. Here in Vermont we call them "flatlanders"; The poor souls can't help it but I know how you feel.

    January 28, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
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