November 17th, 2008
03:15 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama acts presidential even as he lays low

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="President-elect Obama called California's governor and the mayor of Los Angeles to express concern about the wildfires raging in Southern California."]
(CNN) – The man once referred to by a rival campaign as “the biggest celebrity in the world” has intentionally been keeping a very low profile in the awkward limbo period between Election Day and his inauguration on January 20.

But on Monday President-Elect Barack Obama stepped out a little and acted decidedly presidential in the middle of a disaster in California.

Obama called Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villraigosa “to express his concern over the wildfires and to receive an update on the situation,” according to a statement released by the Obama transition team Monday.

In the nearly two weeks since Election Day, Obama has taken great pains to make it clear that President Bush remains in charge of the country and its affairs until Obama’s swearing in two months. At his first press conference as president-elect, Obama stressed that the country only has one president at a time and, Obama did not participate in the recent economic summit of world leaders convened to discuss a coordinated response to the financial crisis that has roiled global securities and credit markets.

Update 3:15 p.m.: The Web site of President-elect Obama's presidential campaign,, was altered after Obama's calls to Gov. Schwarzenegger and Mayor Villaraigosa in order to encourage visitors to the site to donate to relief efforts for the victims of the Southern California wildfires. Click here to read a blog post on the Web site.

soundoff (172 Responses)
  1. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    A Brave New World November 17th, 2008 3:52 pm ET

    Does that mean it's OK now to use Obama's middle name without fear of retribution?
    The name "Hussein" means: "small handsome one". I, for one, don't see a problem with the name. I'm sure he's been called much worse.

    November 17, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  2. Chela

    Delano, Gamaliel, Milhous, Woodrow, Birchard, Knox, Grover, Quincy, Fitzgerald, Baines, Walker, Howard, Simpson, Abram, Calvin, Wilson.

    What do all these names have in common? They are the middle names of presidents ... and they are all family last names, given as middle names.

    And just like Barack Hussein Obama, the presidents who had these middle names had nothing to do with getting those names ...

    What makes a person great is what he or she does; character is what counts.

    I'm very happy and proud of my new President!

    November 17, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  3. MRT

    All I can say as a Canadian,, Your Country is SICK!!!! never heard such hatred and lies spewed against someone who is was elected and supposed to lead your country from people who make up things and don't have to account for what they say....

    November 17, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  4. conservative

    By whose definition does he act presidential ?

    November 17, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  5. CM in AR

    Does President GW Bush even know about the fires in California???"

    He doesn't read, so probably not.

    November 17, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  6. Georgia Gal

    Okay, so I have a question to those people still talking about the birth certificate.

    If this is such a big deal then why didn't either McCain or Palin address this on the campaign trail (heaven knows they addressed everything else that they possibly could)?

    If this was a legitimate argument then they would've brought it up ... trust me.

    November 17, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  7. Michael

    He won't be swearing in until January 20 (two months away).

    November 17, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  8. Jason

    From the Gospel of Obama, III, 12:

    Hark, Bush caused the great fire
    with destruction and depair across the land
    Until Obama descended from the heav'ns
    and put it out with his wide smile

    November 17, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  9. Mike

    Well I am glad all the obamabots like maggie in virg....and mikeh still have their ability to call people names.....

    please me specifically to where his birth certificate has been verified....that shouldn't be hard since you seem to know...please tell me where i can see the vault copy of his birth certificate...then i will shut up.

    maggie in va....well good luck collecting your checks for the next 4 some of that money because i can gaurantee you it is only going to last for 4 years.

    November 17, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  10. Lizz

    I think Prez Obama is good in dealing with politic.

    First, he resigned from Senate position.... making his vote won't count to look fair and neutral Prez instead of talking on behalf of Dems.

    Then, he influenced some Republicans on his ideas to gain supports. By doing this, he may gain more votes for the auto industry bailout compared to his one vote.

    November 17, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  11. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    we need change, tx November 17th, 2008 3:54 pm ET
    I can't say whether you're a bigot or not, but one thing's for sure.
    You need to work on your spelling.

    Bigot only has one "g"!

    November 17, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  12. beckster

    Who is John Galt?

    November 17, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |







    November 17, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  14. Biff

    @ WOW WOW


    November 17, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  15. Robert in MN

    About the birth certificate thing. The U.S. Constitution provides that you must be a U.S. Citizen to be president. You can bet that Obama's birth records were scrutinized and verified before his name could've been placed in nomination by the Democratic Party. So ENOUGH ALREADY about birth records. If you've got an issue with his policies/positions, then lets discuss them and get off the juvenile topics that are moot at this point in history.

    November 17, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  16. Bill

    "I wish Sarah Palin would take some initiative and act prseidential, whether we like it or not I can vision Ms. Palin running against Obama and may win election by a landslide in 4 years.
    DON'T COUNT Palin Out!

    Go Palin, Go."

    That was a joke right?
    Because it was the funniest thing I have read in a long time!

    November 17, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  17. Saul

    Whether Obama is American or not he is your new president like it or not. I know you are having a hard time getting over yourselve but with god's help your hate filled heart with soften some day.
    I have been following your comments to try to make any sense out of them but your stupidity keeps on giving. Make good use of your time by helping someone else, neighbor, friend, homeless or anybody instead of trying to constantly say bad things about others. Also, seek help because you may not notice, but stupidity is evident in all your comments.

    November 17, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  18. Alaskan Fame Junkie

    McCain wasn't born in the US. Why doesn't that bother you, Mike?

    November 17, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  19. Mike, Syracuse NY

    What exactly is Obama going to do with his 'update on the situation'? Maybe Superobama will just fly to California and use his super breathe to blow out the fire.

    November 17, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  20. Alaskan Fame Junkie

    Look up Obama's birth certificate at politifact dot com if you are seriously so deranged that you think it's all a ruse.

    I don't have my original birth certificate either...only a copy because the original was destroyed a long time ago. Are you going to try to tell me that I'M not a US citizen too?

    November 17, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  21. FAYE, NV

    His birth certificate and been approved and a legal document that is why he was able to run for President. Please go and learn about what is needed to run for this type of office.

    November 17, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  22. Mike

    Well everything else I won't believe waht the DNC says....please tell me how hard it is to show the American people his Birth Certificate!

    November 17, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
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