Obama pays short visit to House Democratic retreat
CAMBRIDGE, Md. -- Lawmakers who gathered here for the annual House Democratic retreat may have been disappointed to get no preview of the State of the Union address from President Obama when he paid a quick visit tonight.
They were treated, however, to a display of the president's dance moves.
Obama met with more than 130 House Democratic lawmakers and their spouses for about 90 minutes, entering the first-floor ballroom at the plush Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay shortly before 7:30 p.m.
Democrats have been at the sprawling bayside resort since Thursday afternoon, discussing their strategy and messaging after a midterm shellacking that saw their party lose 63 seats in the House. The resort is the same one that hosted House Republicans after they lost the majority in 2006.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) opened the evening by thanking House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (Conn.) and Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra (Calif.) for leading what she said had been a productive issues conference. Then she introduced the president and led a toast in his honor. Obama followed up with a toast of his own, thanking the House Democratic lawmakers and joking that he was saving his best lines for an upcoming speech next week.
Obama told the members and their families that he could not be prouder of them, adding that they had spent the last two years making history and were working to build a better America. He also described their relationship over the past two years -- which had grown contentious during the lame-duck session -- as a great partnership and said that he looked forward to continuing to work together with them.
At one point, Obama mentioned Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who remains in serious condition after being shot in Tucson this month in an alleged assassination attempt. Obama thanked the families and spouses of House Democratic lawmakers for their support of members. (Earlier Friday, lawmakers' spouses and family members attended a session on security led by the House sergeant-at-arms and representatives from the U.S. Capitol Police.)
Obama wrapped up his brief remarks before 8 p.m. and proceeded to a corner of the ballroom, where he posed for pictures and spoke with members and their families.
Then, before he left, Obama briefly took to the dance floor, dancing first with Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and then joining in a circle with others, including Pelosi and Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez (D-N.Y.), while the band played Michael Jackson's "Rock With You."
Obama left the building before 9 p.m. and Marine One could be heard taking off about five minutes later.
Staff writer Perry Bacon Jr. contributed to this report.
| January 21, 2011; 9:56 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency
Save & Share: Previous: Michele Bachmann to deliver her own State of the Union rebuttal
Next: Colin Powell: No guarantee I'll back Obama in 2012
Posted by: nomobarry | January 23, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: mbs1960 | January 23, 2011 5:58 AM | Report abuse