Obama: 'I Love the South'
By Ed O'Keefe
Experience and professional qualifications trump regional considerations in the selection of Cabinet secretaries and other top government appointees, President Obama told a group of reporters from regional newspapers during an interview earlier this week. The lack of southerners in his Cabinet and among senior staff does not signal a geographic bias, he said.
"I love the South," Obama said three times during his response to a question about why there is only one southerner in a senior position in his administration.
"By my count, you have about seven folks from the Midwest, six from the West, a crowd from the Northeast," the reporter said, noting that White House press secretary and Alabama native Robert Gibbs is the only Southerner in a top government job.
"I love the South," Obama reiterated. "I've got to admit that we have thought a lot about finding the very best people for the jobs and haven't been thinking with great intensity about regionalism, because partly except for food and sports teams and weather, I mean, we're one country. And I think that people are so mobile these days that -- I tend to think of ourselves as all just Americans."
Posted at 12:09 PM ET on Mar 13, 2009
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