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Obama Holds Economic Roundtable with Governors

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), center, listens during a meeting of Democratic Governors on June 20, 2008, at the Chicago History Museum in Chicago. (Associated Press)

By Anne E. Kornblut
CHICAGO -- Sen. Barack Obama brought 16 Democratic governors here for an economic roundtable today -- and got more than just an earful about the need for better manufacturing policies and greater investment in the national infrastructure.

Obama also got to project a strong image of himself surrounded by a popular, diverse group of Democrats -- some who backed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, others from vital swing states -- on an issue that could be determinative in several regions.

On the panel: Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas; David Paterson of New York; Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania or Pennsylvania; Janet Napolitano of Arizona; Ted Strickland of Ohio; Jennifer Granholm of Michigan; Jon Corzine of New Jersey; Christine Gregoire of Washington; Mike Easley of North Carolina; Ted Kulongoski of Oregon; Dave Freudenthal of Wyoming; Martin O'Malley of Maryland; Bill Richardson of New Mexico; Jim Doyle of Wisconsin; David Baldacci of Maine; Jim Manchin of West Virginia; and the wife of Chet Culver, who was unable to attend himself because of the flooding in his state of Iowa.

"You deserve and you need a partner in the White House and a president who understands our prosperity doesn't come from Wall Street or Washington," Obama told the group, with whom he also had dinner the night before. "We should be investing in the skills, the human capital, the education and well-being of your constituents."

The group complained widely about President Bush's stewardship of the economy and treatment of their states. Granholm said 400,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in her state since he took office. Strickland said that, last week alone, he took calls from companies in his state informing him that up to 12,000 jobs are about to be lost. And Freudenthal said that, on environmental issues important to his state, he was looking forward to having a "partner for a change, as opposed to a dictator."

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 20, 2008; 12:24 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama  
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Obama is a real leader. Obama talks and people listen. McCain talks and people go to sleep.

Posted by: Dan | June 26, 2008 5:56 AM | Report abuse

Do you think that MCCAIN, can lower food cost, gas prices, and create jobs??? Then I guess you believe in the tooth fairy as well! Oh and by the way, what have the republicans done in the eight years to help this crisis we are in??? Now 5 months before an election, Mccain and Bush now want to drill for oil,when they both opposed it,and futhermore the Bush Admin has not once talked about drilling for oil until a week ago,if the republicans were that concerned,Bush had 8yrs to lift the ban, after all from 1995-2006 the house and senate was controlled by the republicans, so he could of gotten the ban lifted..where was he??? I guess to busy trying to get oil from Iraq when he was elected.
Sounds like a political gimmick!

Posted by: bm | June 23, 2008 11:53 PM | Report abuse

I am amused that the people commenting here assume that O is listening as opposed to dictating. Anyone actually have the meeting minutes?

Posted by: cw | June 23, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Peter Lisbeth wrote:

His 8 years in the state legislature and nearly four years as United States senator have surely prepared him to take charge at the White House.
Are you high? Obama was a part-time legislator who worked 55 days a year in Illinois. In fact his first full-time job in life started in 2005 when he entered the US Senate. Since being there, he has sponsored and passed one bill to aid the Congo. Tell us, Brainiac, what exactly qualifies him to be president, his laziness? You Obamatards are just puking pathetic!

Posted by: Bill O'Really? | June 23, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Oh what a pathetic picture! If I was the governor of a state, there's no way I'd sit at a table with some junior Senator wannabe pretending he's already the president. I would have walked out as soon as I saw the setup. What an arrogant pompous ass Obama is!

Would someone please get us a REAL freaking nominee? I'm sick of this phony Hollywood shmuck! This has become an embarrassing circus. God, I hate to vote for McCain, but at least he's real.

Posted by: The Truth | June 23, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

The correct name of the governor of West Virginia is JOE Manchin III.

Posted by: West Virginian | June 23, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama is a great listener and team player, and holds the ace to a more prosperous America based on pragmatic consensus. He believes strongly in the abilities of his country men and women to do great things for themselves and for their beloved country. Besides, Obama is a great motivator and can positively impact the lives young people. His 8 years in the state legislature and nearly four years as United States senator have surely prepared him to take charge at the White House. He sees all Americans as true stakeholders in the American project and is understanding and mindful of the needs to carry them along.

Posted by: Peter Lisbeth | June 23, 2008 4:28 AM | Report abuse

Saint, this is no last supper; it will be one of many collaborative efforts that Barack will host b/c unlike both Bush and McCain he does not work via political expediency but by building consensus and by l-i-s-t-e-n-i-n-g to others.

On a side note to others: I love the intriguing campaign sign with the Latin phrase, "Yes We Can." I don't think it's presumptious, I think it's positive thinking at it's best since it so resembles the president's seal. Maybe it's short on subtlety, but I love it nonetheless.

Posted by: Marirose | June 22, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Oh, LOL! :-D

Why, does the Photo, remind me of "The Last Supper"?

Posted by: SAINT---The | June 22, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Our governor's first name is John.

Posted by: maine girl | June 21, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Where was the "DEMOCRATIC" Governor of KENTUCKY that did not attend the round-table meeting??

Hey KY Governor, it's time to get on board
the "OBAMA" Change Train!!!

Posted by: Marie | June 21, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Republicans can't learn anything Debra because they are not here for people but for their cronies from Shell, Exxon and other corporations. At least now we know why Iraq war started when oil companies are returning back to Iraq after 30 years since Saddam said enough was enough.

Posted by: Jarda1 | June 21, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

The governor of Maine is John Baldacci

Posted by: Ben | June 21, 2008 1:38 AM | Report abuse

"Well, in answer to the question begged by Kate, we think you should begin by listening in on all our Conversations! Wire-Tap away!" ;~)

Posted by: RAT-The | June 21, 2008 1:07 AM | Report abuse

Round Table:

"I hope one of you guys knows what the hell I'm supposed to do, because I am frickin clueless." "Thank you, now tell me what it is so I can take the credit."

Posted by: Kate Sheahan | June 20, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Listening is a key step in the communication process. Obama is on the right track by bringing in the Democratic governors. This shows great leadership ability and a step towards uniting the Democrats for change we can believe in.

Posted by: Rose in Atlanta | June 20, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Being a good leader also means being a good listener. Obama is once again proving that he is willing to listen to those closer to the issues and take their advice and recommendations.

I respect McCain for what he is done, but he is no match for the dynamic leader that Obama is. We are ready for change and Obama is the change we need.

Posted by: Monteiro | June 20, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Relatively minor correction: It's Joe Manchin -- not Jim -- who is governor of WV.

Posted by: bkocheesh | June 20, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

judy if you think Obama can create jobs by raising taxes, and can lower food and gas prices, I assumed you believe in the tooth fairy too.

Posted by: jane green | June 20, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

I hope Senator Obama can get the support of the governors in the election he has some interesting points we need to create more jobs instead of ship them off and we need to cut sending in areas that's costing the us more like the war in Iraq, high gas prices and higher food bills.

Posted by: Judy - San Leandro, Ca | June 20, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Clinton will never forgive Obama for beating her like a cheap toy drum. Her elphantine memory is only mathced by her elephantine legs.

Posted by: Gloom and Doom | June 20, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

LOL! :-D

Round Table?

Looks more like a "Shoe" off a Dimocrat Mascot!

Ohhhh, Why the Long Face there John Kerry?

"Hee-Haww, Heee-Haw, Hee Halways asks me that"! ;~)

Posted by: SAINT---The | June 20, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

For the governors who campaigned hard for Clinton to be included must be reassuring. When politicians nurture grudges and keep enemies list they betray their unfitness to lead by example or to communicate with maturity. Happily, Obama's ease with competing in a friendly way and respecting that some people's money and votes were with his rival ... so by not excluding them or snubbing them he's already leading by example. I have to say that both Clintons can take a cue from this. It's not a time for vindictive personal immature politics. No. The times demand we be wiser now.

Posted by: Gaias Child | June 20, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Leadership is reaching across the aisle, not just a discussion with a bunch of VP wanna-be's.

Posted by: Just Sayin | June 20, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

This important roundtable gets 4 inches on The Trail and the campaign financing dustup gets the play of a nuclear disaster. The media simply doesn't know what to do with thoughtful, policy-based campaigning even though they wring their hands and say Obama needs to "do more." The hypocrisy. Great post Debra -- sorry I missed this live.

Posted by: omyobama | June 20, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

The McSame thing, is something that folks need to fix. It's a lousy way to talk about a Senator, Presidential candidate, or a neighbor. Just like when the folks that use Sen. Obama's middle name as if it means something. It's possible to rise above and have meaningful discussions without going back to kindergarten. Grow up folks.

I agree that the present administration has done little to listen, but Sen. Obama doesn't offer anything at all in his statement. There's no plan there. Some real substance would be nice.

Posted by: Stupidity | June 20, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Obama will take leadership in this area of investment but he will have to watch out for total spending. We have to have the Obama health care plan and not Clinton's to watch expenditures. Earmarks, as popular as they are, are going to have to be limited. Their is going to have to be a sense of cooperation between politicians because our economic situation is somewhat fragile at this time and we must mind deficits.

Debra, the enthusiasm that you expressed was the same enthusiasm I felt when I read his tax policies a week ago in the Wall Street Journal. They were intelligent, cautious, and based on sound reasoning. I also felt that way when he questioned Gen. Patreaus, he handled an antagonist with great aplomb and and respectfulness.

This man does things competently. Even if you disagree with him you can have trust that things will be done in a good faith effort to get results. There won't be decisions made solely for political expediency.

That change alone will get the country to feel that we are improving rather than degrading.

Posted by: Gator-ron | June 20, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Bringing more experience on board the campaign. Obama could strike it bog if talks about infrastructure and the need to invest in the U.S. (what McCain calls "pork")

Posted by: matt | June 20, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Where is Duvall?

Posted by: jimmy | June 20, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Watching the discussion with the Goveners and the discourse itself has made extremely
hopefull that the Politicians could and would work together for the benefits of these great United States. If this is an example of Obama's plans and leadership, I will take a sip of the Kool Aid. Change is coming!

Posted by: James | June 20, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Having watched this round table discussion I couldn't be more amazed at Obama's leadership. With all the politics and BS that accompanies it, this man called in state governors from some of the largest and some struggling states to discuss substantive issues regarding infrastructure development, energy plans, health care which has the states bearing a huge burden of the costs, and education. It was a dynamic discussion, streamlined through CNN for the average person to watch or listen on their computer from people who have done a lot of work on developing plans and problem solving. At the end of the discussion, Obama said this was not a 'goodbye' but a 'hello', that there would be follow-up on individual state issues and hopefully other meetings so that those states with 30 day and 3 month ramp up plans to begin to solve these issues could get started in January.

Meanwhile John McSame is doing nothing but pandering and politiking. When will the Republicans finally learn how to GOVERN? We know they know how to grab power and even hold onto power. We have yet seen actual problem solving or governing on the part of Republicans. And I guess we won't in 2008 either. Good thing the Democrats are getting started.

Posted by: Debra | June 20, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

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