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Obama dodges question on gov't contracting

By Ed O'Keefe

Very few people really understand the complexities of government contracting, so perhaps it's no surprise that President Obama dodged a very specific question Thursday morning about the Small Business Administration's 8(a) Business Development Program.

As The Eye has reported before, the program is designed to ensure that minority-owned small businesses -- especially Native American-owned shops -- secure government contracting work.

Leslie Lohse, with California's Paskenta Nomlaki, asked Obama about the program at the end of his remarks at Thursday's Tribal Nations conference:

...I'd like to ask you ... to take care of our 8(a) program because those of us -- those that are landless out there can develop economic development opportunities through the 8(a) contracting program, and that may ease some of the burdens that some of the landless tribes are, because you don't need to have land to operate that.

Obama responded by urging Lohse and others "to interact directly with the department heads, the secretaries who are in charge of implementation on a whole range of these issues."

"I want intensive discussion and dialog with them," Obama said. "Present to them your concerns, your specific recommendations. They are here to listen and to learn and to advise. I am going to meet back up with you at the end of the day. And if you guys have just been partying and not working -- (laughter) -- I'll know."

How's that for passing the buck down the food chain?

(h/t to Gov Exec's Robert Brodsky for spotting this first)

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 5, 2009; 3:21 PM ET
Categories:  Administration, Contracting  
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