Obama limo to roll with 'Taxation Without Representation' plates
January 15th, 2013
06:18 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama limo to roll with 'Taxation Without Representation' plates

(CNN) – In a sign of solidarity, President Barack Obama will begin using the standard license plate for the District of Columbia, which famously states "Taxation Without Representation," on presidential vehicles, a White House official confirmed Tuesday.

The move comes after the city council for Washington, D.C. petitioned the president last week through a resolution, demanding that Obama use the license plates as millions watch his presidential motorcade drive down Pennsylvania Avenue for his inauguration on Monday.

"President Obama has lived in the District now for four years, and has seen first-hand how patently unfair it is for working families in D.C. to work hard, raise children and pay taxes, without having a vote in Congress," the White House official said in a statement.

While Washington, D.C., with a population of 617,996 people, elects a delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives–currently Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton–the delegate does not have voting privileges on the House floor. The delegate, however, is permitted to debate and vote in committees on which he or she serves.

The Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa are also represented by a delegate, while Puerto Rico has a resident commissioner in Congress.

The district's Department of Motor Vehicles began placing the slogan, "Taxation Without Representation," on license plates nearly 13 years ago a sign of protest to the federal rules.

Presidential vehicles will start using the plates this weekend, the official added, and will continue to display them throughout the president's second term as a way to demonstrate Obama's "commitment to the principle of full representation for the people of the District of Columbia."

"It is about time," said Mark Plotkin, a veteran political analyst in Washington who's widely credited with proposing the slogan. When Plotkin hosted a radio show on WAMU, a listener tipped him off to the idea right before President Bill Clinton's second term, he said.

A few years later, the district began issuing the plates in 2000 and Clinton attached one to his presidential limousine. President George W. Bush removed the phrase from his tag, a practice that Obama continued until now.

Calling it a "glaring contradiction and hypocrisy" on Obama's part, Plotkin said the president may be "on his way to remedying this."

"It has taken four years," he continued. "But I am very pleased and I hope, just maybe, the president will have the zeal of a convert and push democracy here where he lives, just like he pushes it everywhere else."

But some say there's more to be done than simply tacking on the plates. Marion Barry, the district's former mayor who now serves on the city council, pointed to the overwhelming number of Washington voters who turned out for Obama in both elections.

He said the city is working to get a statehood bill put together in the House and the Senate, and argued it would be "helpful" for the president to support the legislation.

"I don't want people to get carried away with just the license. That is just the beginning," he said. "We can't let up."


Filed under: President Obama • Washington D.C.
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. iliab

    On the philosophical level I certainly agree that DC people shall have proper representation. But their government is so corrupt and we already have enough crooks on Capitol Hill…

    January 15, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    I do not care for all these–but we now as a nation need very tighter security to our president, because NRA idiots are acting up funny and stupid in the nation. Security in need to airports, boarders, DC area etc. just provide him. God bless!!!

    January 15, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  3. ghostriter

    I can see the conservative jokes now.......

    January 15, 2013 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  4. Skeptic

    Well at least he's now being honest about what he plans for the WHOLE COUNTRY – and he is putting it on his license plate (which we paid for) – "Taxation without Representation" – and he leaves off the rest of the phrase "Is Tyranny". The truth comes out . . .

    January 15, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  5. Desiree H.

    Ummm....I believe it is "NO taxation without representation". AHEM.

    January 15, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  6. tammyk tammy

    The thought of D.C. attaining full representation status with a vote in the House and a vote in the electoral college must frighten the GOTP to the bottom of their souless guts. Add Puerto Rico and the other three islands and the GOTP knows they will never attain the Executive Branch again. The POTUS's decision to address D.C.'s taxation without representation is closer to the true spirit of the Boston Tea Party than the disgusting gerrymandering and voter suppression practiced by the TP and the GOP who fear true representation of ALL citizens. Let these people who vote have a true and equal voice in our government.

    January 15, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  7. jkane sfl gop mascots the blubbering slobs allen west rover nitwitquest rick scott ,carl rove and donald dump ??????

    Obamas been a little busy the last four years, cut him a little slack !!!!

    January 15, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  8. Chris

    I guess his views on this issue were "evolving" – which apparently mean that he'd do anything to get elected and reelected.

    January 15, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  9. Stop the Spending!!

    Statehood for a city?? I'd give them a representative, but not 2 senators. The democrats just want 2 more Dem Senators and a new democrat representative.

    January 15, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  10. Smeagel4T

    Hmmm... DC really shouldn't have statehood. The Founders even realized that the seat of the federal government shouldn't be within the boundaries of any one state. However the citizens should have representation. That's a bit complicated when it comes to giving representation to DC. The solution might be to immitate the military. Perhaps residents of DC should be treated similar to being on military deployment, and each resident can chose one other district in one other state in which they vote and are generally represented.

    January 15, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  11. GonzoinHouston

    DC was founded because all the states of the newly-independent America wanted the prestige and political advantage of having the nation's capital in their state. If DC becomes a state, what gives that state the right to host the nation's capital?

    The politics are pretty basic. Statehood means 2 more senators and 1-3 Reps, all of whom will be solidly Democrat.

    January 15, 2013 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  12. empresstrudy

    Obama: Trolling America to Infinity and Beyond

    January 15, 2013 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  13. bankrupt1

    sounds closer to the truth.

    January 15, 2013 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  14. Elliott Carlin

    Can this clown walk by anyone without a 'fist-bump'? I guess he's not fan of New Hampshire's plates, cause that is where we are heading.

    January 15, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  15. stevephoenix

    D.C. 'Taxation Without Representation' License Plates Will Be Used On Obama Limousine

    Would be more correct if it said

    Taxation caused by Mis- Representation' or False Representation'

    January 15, 2013 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  16. stevephoenix

    Ironic. The folks in D.C. think this is a sign of President Obama's solidarity with them. In reality, he likes the slogan "Taxation Without Representation" because it embodies the way he wants to govern the country.

    January 15, 2013 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  17. Get on with it

    Cede the northern half of DC back to Maryland, just like the Southern half was deeded back to Virginia.

    January 15, 2013 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |