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Obama and the Wimps

An incredulous Barack Obama, experiencing the hysteria that overtakes the Washington metropolitan area whenever a flake of snow or even the prospect of it is forecast, joked about his daughters’ school, Sidwell Friends, being closed due to the thin coat of ice to which the region awoke this morning. “Because of -- what? -- some ice?” the president from Chicago asked.

Yes, Mr. President. Because of some ice.

Those of us who relocated here from regions where winter is winter, and life somehow goes on uninterrupted, never do get over our astonishment at the panic that grips town each time a winter storm arrives or even is predicted. When I was growing up in Boston, no one anticipated a possible day off school unless the forecast was for six to eight (or 12) inches -- and unless that much snow actually fell. But here the mere hint of winter precipitation sends otherwise level-headed people scurrying to the grocery store for such items as milk, bottled water and -- for reasons that remain entirely unclear to me -- toilet paper.

For all his good intentions about bringing change to Washington, this is one local habit the president is simply not going to fix. It’s probably best if he starts approaching it as an anthropological study he might have missed out on in college.

By Marie Cocco  | January 28, 2009; 12:50 PM ET
Categories:  Cocco  | Tags:  Marie Cocco  
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Comments

Marie, it's been 30 years since I lived in the area, but I could never fathom just why, when their car starts to spin, they hit the gas. Coming down Connecticut Avenue from Chevy Chase was a real challenge in any kind of wintry conditions and I won't even mention the on and off ramps to Rock Creek Parkway. Go figure.

Posted by: NotBubba | January 28, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Well, I have to admit, when people come from out of town it can seem silly. But at 2pm this afternoon the first snowplow came by my house. My street was a sheet of ice. What time does the plow come by in Mr. Obama's neighborhood in Chicago? My bet is 2am so it can be clean by morning.

The problem Obama sees is caused by the inability of this area to maintain roads under such conditions in a reasonable time. Why? Because we don't get that much snow, unlike Chicago, so our funding for maintaining the roads is much lower. So the plow comes by at 2pm and not 2am.

Now I had to laugh when I was in Denver and they had 6 inches of late spring snow that shut down schools. Normally it takes over 2 feet to shut down a Denver school, but as the local weather lady said, this was "spring snow" and "had lots of water in it", which made me laugh even harder. You see, they normally get what is called dry snow, something we here in DC rarely get. Its very light and you can drive on it like it was flour. But "wet snow", which we get all the time is different. Its slick. It is heavy to plow or shovel. And when the temps drop below freezing, it freezes into ice. The weather lady in Denver had to *explain* this to the listeners.

So Mr. Obama, please understand that its not that we are wimps. Its that we do not have or need the services that Chicago must have to function. We don't maintain plows for running through neighborhoods every hour day and night because we just don't get this ice or snow very much.

As for those in Chicago being tougher than we in DC, well, I'd like to see them handle the traffic here on a Friday afternoon, in rain or snow, before a three-day weekend.

Posted by: bevjims1 | January 28, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he can get people to stop throwing out their shovels after every storm causing a run on them at hardware stores.

Posted by: bayma1 | January 28, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

In fairness to Obama, there was an awful lot of ice on Krypton.

Posted by: fishcrow | January 28, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I am a transplant in Seattle from Ohio. In Ohio, when it snows it snows, and nothing shuts down. Now, I love Seattle, but if it snows--which is rare--and it sticks, the city goes into a tailspin. Two buses, here, crashed a guard rail and nearly crashed down on the I5 freeway, because there were some snowflakes. Nobody here knows not to slam on the brakes if their car begins to spin. Well, I guess one person's passing fancy is another's catastrophic end-time.

Posted by: gaystaggo | January 28, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

*snort* One more reason why i love this guy. When I lived in Charlottesville, I was astonished at how panicked people would get over a bit of quickly melting snow on the ground in town...and puzzled, too, considering that we were actually on the leeward side of the Blue Ridge and sheltered from the snow that got regularly dumped on Staunton.

That said, there have been a few snowfalls in recent memory that closed the Chicago schools. That's the kind of snow that falls so fast and hard that the plows and salt trucks and CTA maintenance can't keep up with it. But that happens only once every decade or so.

I just don't understand--why would you throw out a perfectly good snow shovel? That's the dumbest thing I've heard today.

Posted by: calcyon | January 28, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I was stationed in Northern Virginia in 1971, when 1/4 inch of mostly slush shut down D.C., and the problems were obviuos: The whole area only owns about two snow plows, and they share those with Richmond. And since every street has on street parking, with double parking added as a further obstacle, it is just easier to tell Federal Employees to stay home and wait, because it will all melt in the next day or two. Washington's problems are exacerbated by all us Northerners, who get through easily, inspiring all those Southerners to try driving that they just won't ever learn how to do.

Then again, then and now, Conservatives pray for snow in the Capitol, because while Congress and the Federal Government are off for snow days, no government gets done, which suits them fine.


AND, of course, remember what that same 1/4 inch of slush does to Richmond Virginia. THAT is truly laughable to us snow belters.

Posted by: ceflynline | January 28, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

When I was growing up in Rhode Island the schools were occasionally closed because of snow, so, whatever, dude.

Posted by: spidey103 | January 28, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

You guys defending Washington are sort of missing the point. It's not about who has the best snow-removal equipment. (Never mind that it snows virtually every year in DC so you should be prepared.)

If Chicago had had the same weather, and didn't plow or salt anything, they still wouldn't have closed the schools. Ditto virtually any other city with the same weather. And when Chicago does get bad winter weather, nobody runs out to the supermarket in a crazed panic to load up on milk and toilet paper. This fearful panic over something that isn't that threatening is a reaction virtually unique to Washington.

Posted by: simpleton1 | January 28, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I wish all you folks from the far, freezing north would stop congratulating yourselves on how well you handle snow and ice. DC doesn't have the equipment and staff that northern cities do. We also have a hugely transient population and many people inexperienced with driving in snow. Enough already! I'm an Obama fan, but he was out of line with this criticism. We all know he has a huge staff to drive him around and clear his walkways. He's welcome to come shovel at my house any time.

Posted by: jbcjd | January 28, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

...because of dismal public service in this metro area, Mr. President!

VDOT did not spread even a drop of salt or dust on the road I live on, and the street looks like a sheet of reflecting ice!

The problem with such arrogant and misinformed statements from highest office is that the spineless public servants will now start to keep schools open and offices on normal schedule without any consideration of reality, putting the stress on already buckling average man.

So much for change!!

Posted by: ssensharma | January 28, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

jbcjd, *you're* missing the point. In Chicago, see, even if you don't live in a house and have to park on the street, you shovel out your parking space. And you move your car every other day so the snowplow can get through. Of course, pettiness abounds--people regularly put out chairs to reserve "their" parking spaces, and if someone parks in that space and moves the chairs, vandalism and/or physical altercation can sometimes erupt. In Chicago, we don't have a huge staff to come dig our cars out of four feet of snow--not even state senators.

Look, if you had a foot or two dumped on you, yeah, you'd have our sympathy for being unexpectedly immobilized by a freak blizzard. As I said in a previous post, sometimes that even happens to the most prepared northern cities. But all you got was a little ice. I tell you what: go find an empty parking lot and practice steering out of skids and fishtails, keep a stock of canned soups and powdered milk in your pantry, keep some kitty litter and/or rock salt in your trunk, and you'll be a lot more comfortable with this whole northern winter thing.

Posted by: calcyon | January 28, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Well, the President is somewhat right about school closings due to snow, however, what about those heatwaves in Chicago. When the temperature rises above 90 degrees, Mid westerners seem to have a difficult time. It's not about toughness, it's about regional norms. And, DC follows those norms.

Posted by: kevin_m_clay@yahoo.com | January 28, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

And to prove his point, Obama just booked a visit to Canada in February!

Posted by: nodebris | January 28, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Can we please stop perpetuating the myth that the DC area is full of this "hugely transient population" and that no one is really "from here." That is a disservice to the many of us who are either DC natives or have made DC our permanent homes, and undermines our case for home rule and full voting rights. That said, it snows every year in DC and the notion that people are simply unaccustomed to the snow is not credible. Moreover, to the extent that Washingtonians are originally from other areas, I would bet that there are as many who are from points north and west who do know how to drive in the snow and shovel our sidewalks and driveways.

Posted by: DoraChen | January 28, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Isn't there something of more import you could have written about KooKoo? Is the man, who was smiling when he said this, not entilted to a little levity or is the honeymoon over and it's time to parse him to death?

Posted by: mot2win | January 28, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Bold words from someone who has a Secret Service motorcade to drive him (and his daughters) around.

Posted by: PSmith98 | January 28, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Let's be honest. Everyone in government can't wait for a smattering of snow or ice to fall in hopes of a "snow day". And that's the adults!

It's not just milk and toilet paper that disappears, bananas seem to be a hot commodity as well!

Posted by: kmcnyasha | January 28, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Years ago I worked with someone who had been born on the shores of Lake Manitoba in Canada. He told me that at the temperatures found there, snow and ice get sticky and a car can stop on a dime.

The problem here is that at temperatures above 20 degrees F, ice forms a layer of water and cars hydroplane. When the weather around Lake Manitoba gets to the kind of temperatures we have here, the drivers there are just as bad as the drivers here.

Posted by: StanKlein | January 28, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Is this man the President of the District of Columbia or of the US. Let the local government make its own decision. Will he step up to the plate if there is an accident? People in the DC area have never been able to drive in bad weather, let them make the decision. You can not micro manage every detail at all levels of government.

Posted by: ashby10 | January 28, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Bravo to the DC metro area for being reasonable, sane and safety conscious.

The DC area’s reaction is very understandable to this Chicagoan originally from Michigan and has lived in Colorado, Montana and North Carolina. Understandable because DC isn’t that far removed from Greensboro, though it gets snow/ice a bit more frequently than Greensboro [5 days a year vs. 3?].

They just don’t have the infrastructure to handle this sort of thing, and paying all that money to store an adequate number of plow blades and salt spreaders to put out a “Chicago” style effort, for 360 or more days a year would be asinine.

In Greensboro [and likely Metro DC], the issue was school children safety alone. They don’t have sidewalks in residential areas of Greensboro for kids to walk on. The terrain is much more hilly and the streets wind around quite a bit. School buses and cars on snowy/icy winding, hilly streets without sidewalks is a recipe for disaster for school children anywhere, much more so in areas that only get 3-5 days a year of this kind of weather. I know so, because even here in Chicago, a strong rain in the middle of summer can turn many experienced drivers into absolute morons.

Also, these kids only get 3-5 days a year to go sledding, make snowmen and snow Angels and have a snowball fight. Let the kids play, since they likely will be getting a ride to wherever they are going, from and adult.

As for the grocery store hysteria, I made one woman’s day. During the first storm of my only Southern winter, I stopped by Harris Teeter after work, to pick up a few items. I turned down the bread aisle, and all I saw were a few packages of English muffins and some hamburger & hot dog buns. The woman walking down the aisle toward me must have noticed my WTF look [I was using the long version in my mind, for sure], and she said in a very Southern accent, “Oh Honey, you must not be from around here, don’t bother looking for any milk”, and walked away laughing.

Schools opened a day after the storm, kids were safe, I learned a geography lesson and made one woman’s day.

Posted by: nhoj1962 | January 28, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

To the commenter who said that the ice freak-out is a uniquely Washington event, you could not be more wrong. I grew up in Atlanta. Same situation (more ice than real snow but only once or a few times a year), same response (shut things down, buy milk/bread/toilet paper), same reason (not enough equipment to makes roads safe).

As for why toilet paper? Come on! There is nothing so irritating as sitting on the toilet and realizing the last little sheet of tp is gone and you're only hope is a trip to the linen closet. Except that having to trudge (or, more likely, walk very carefully) down the sidewalk over a sheet of ice because there is no more tp in the house is even worse. Just the thought of it makes me want to buy a 12 pack.

Posted by: red73 | January 28, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

In my Upstate NY town they close school at the drop of a flake, we run out of snow days and then they scramble to make them up. Everyone's afraid of law suits. Today they kept them open during a snow storm go figure.

Posted by: AverageJane | January 28, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Okay I said it elsewhere and I guess I'll say it here too:


DC PUBLIC SCHOOLS WERE NOT CLOSED TODAY!!!


Nor were government offices. The schools did have a two hour delay to give the crews more time to clear the major roads.

Off the cuff joke or serious criticism, please try to know what you're talking about before opening your mouth. I swear I cannot stand eight more years of a commander in chief completely divorced from actual facts yet blathering cluessly along anyway.

If he's concerened about his daughters losing their winter navigating skills then don't send them to a ritzy private school for pampered (and often out of town) princesses. Send them to DCPS where they'll rarely have to miss out on the fun of navigating largely untreated iced over sidewalks to get to their substandard education. SouthEast. That ought to toughen em up.

Posted by: bran-solo | January 28, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Agree with several previous posts:
Washington's problem with closing down for today, in addition to lacking services to properly sand and ice the roads, IS geographical in that at this latitude we seem to get more melting/freezing cycles than at higher latitudes, where water stays more "snowy" than turning to slick ice. I'd take a foot of snow over a half-inch of slick ice, the latter is much more treacherous. This coming from a person who's lived in Western Pennsylvania and New England, as well as the good ole DC metro area.

Finally, President Obama, before you accuse us long-time residents of being wimps, maybe you can put yourself in my shoes by imagining: watching uniformed military personnel failing about and falling on the ice outside your apartment, walking your dog across the ice and praying that it doesn't fall down a slight dip in the sidewalk and take you with it, doing a Parkinsonian shuffle on the ice just so you don't fall down on the way to your car, sitting in your car waiting for it to warm up for 30 min just so the ice can melt enough to even break it off your car, and driving 10 mph below the speed limit just so you can make it safely to work 30 miles away. THEN I will take your comments without offense. Seriously, I realize it must be such a pain to walk from one end of the White House to another for work.

Posted by: cmam | January 28, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

President Obama was obviously unaware that DC public schools were in session today - with a 2 hour delay.

Also, the same amount of ice recently paralized Chicago. Ice and snow are two different beasts.

Posted by: 3rings | January 28, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

oops - typo - that's paralyzed

Oh - and you won - get used to it!

Posted by: 3rings | January 28, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

I grew up in NY and now live in California. In CA whenever there is the slightest hint of snow on the mountain passes they close the roads, if they did that in NY we would have not been able to travel for about 2 months out of every year.

But nothing was as crazy as the time I lived in Lubbock TX. I had just moved from NY to Lubbock to go to pilot training at Reese AFB. The strange thing was that Lubbock actually gets a fair amount of snow each year, but during the year I was there every time it snowed you would think it was an alien invasion. It was like nobody had every seen snow before. There were cars crashing all over the place. But being independent Texans the allowed anyone who wanted to, to take out their car and give it a go.

Posted by: bjuhasz | January 28, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

People here panic because they drive like idiots anyway. The snow and ice slows them down!

Posted by: Bowhunter | January 28, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

With respect to the DC reaction to a little bit of snow -- MUST BUY MILK! NO SCHOOL! -- you are absolutely right. But ice is another matter. An inch of ice is worse than 5 inches of snow.
No school district chief is going to take the responsibility for yellow buses sliding off the roads into ditches. And it truly was icy today.

Posted by: fmjk | January 28, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Not bad for a man born without a funny bone.

Posted by: 2sense | January 28, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

ABANDON YOUR CARS NOW!!!!!
ABANDON YOUR CARS NOW!!!!!

Posted by: StevefromSacto | January 28, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

It's because DC/Metro is a very cosmopolitan city with piles of people who's last car was a bicycle. Large swaths of people come from places without any snow, so they have no idea how to drive in it.

You don't find a lot of ice road truckers shopping at Giant on a normal day, so some apprehension by most people is sensible.

Posted by: timscanlon | January 28, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

If he's concerened about his daughters losing their winter navigating skills then don't send them to a ritzy private school for pampered (and often out of town) princesses. Send them to DCPS where they'll rarely have to miss out on the fun of navigating largely untreated iced over sidewalks to get to their substandard education. SouthEast. That ought to toughen em up.

-hahahaha this was a great post :)
It's been a longer time since Chicago was murder capital, that's tough.

Posted by: theobserver4 | January 28, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

No one commenting here has nailed the real reasons the area is overly cautious about snow and ice. It's simple.

We have the highest concentration of lawyers per square mile on the planet. And most of them are spring loaded to sue on behalf of anyone who is injured, aggrieved, slighted, or just p****d off.

Mr. Obama is just getting used to the notion that for awhile, at least, everyone within earshot is going to laugh at his comments as if they were uttered by a comic genius.

He's prone to cheap shots, and this one was typical.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | January 28, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

FYI Boston is as nuts as DC...evidently it has changed since you lived here. They were announcing a list of closings a mile long last night - 12 hours before even the first flake had dropped. Last year the kids were in school until the end of June making up for all the snow days. "Hearty New Englander" seems to me to be a contradiction in terms.

Posted by: Rebecca12 | January 28, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse


I really hope Obama only gets criticized over his casual weather comments his entire term.

Posted by: amercrutio100 | January 28, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Sweet Jesus some people here are sensitive...can the man tell a joke. Some people are actually up in arms about this. Don't give your self ulcers its going to be a long 4 to 8 years.

Posted by: case3 | January 28, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

IT WAS A JOKE, FOLKS!!!

Obama will learn that he can't joke with the Washington media who are constantly trolling to make something out of nothing. There are many things of importance going on, but the Post chose to make something out of nothing. How silly.

Posted by: Amelgepo | January 28, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm from Michigan and comparing what happens here now to when I was a kid 60 years ago is a joke. Now churches close, schools close, meetings cancelled at the flimsiest reason.

What a bunch of wimps is TRUE.

Posted by: taid | January 28, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Rebecca,

There are still plenty of "Hearty New Englanders" to be found on the other end of I-93.

Regards,

Vermont1

Posted by: Dennis12 | January 28, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

I returned back to the home country in Dec for a family visit. Four days the high temp the whole trip was a balmy 2 degrees, the low -17, winds 20-30 mph, it dumped 16 inches of new snow the day I arrived on top of the 2 feet on the ground. No school closings, didn't even bother to cancel Thursday night bowling. This in a state that has 16 time as many miles of road per capita as the district. SO if the distric spent one tenth as much per capita there'd be 50% more money per mile to clear the roads. You get what you pay for.

Posted by: crete | January 28, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Add me as another (former) Michigan resident -- from the Upper Peninsula, no less -- who laughs at how D.C. handles snow. I grew up in suburban Maryland, but then spent three winters on the shores of Lake Superior, where the first snow falls in early September and the roads are solidly covered with ice until spring breakup in late March. Doesn't faze the drivers up there a bit. You just have to keep a steady hand on the steering wheel; no sudden moves; anticipate your stops.

But too many people in the South don't pay enough attention to what they're doing and lack confidence. I laugh at their panic. Northern people are tougher than Southerners in so many ways.

That said, people freak out in all sorts of meteorological conditions. Where I live now in Australia, you should see how they drive when it rains. Slowing down more than their usual slack pace, darting in front of the street trams, crashing into each other at twice the normal rate... And I live in one of the rainy states!

Posted by: Bukkonen | January 28, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

It's so nice to have a president with a sense of humor and a pleasant personality.

Posted by: bginNC | January 28, 2009 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Washington completely shuts down when it snows... I was there for a seminar a few years back and even the Smithsonian locked its doors. The parking attendant just shook his head when I rented a car to drive down to Norfolk; he said we don't drive when it gets this bad.
He was right... no one was on the highway, and when I got off to follow the signs to service stations to get fuel and a bottle of water, they were closed? I had to turn around and go back.
If the rest of the country indulged themselves like Washington, nothing would ever get done.

Posted by: TerrifiedAmerican | January 29, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Wus Bags !

Posted by: PulSamsara | January 29, 2009 2:54 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps he intended to make a funny; and it will take some time to adjust to his style.

Particularly after 8 years of Dubbya making no-so-funny-funnies (to some of us) constantly without intention?

Just a guess--it might not be necessary to go after each others' throats over one remark about weather & wusses...

Posted by: conservative_lipsticklesbian | January 29, 2009 4:30 AM | Report abuse

Time to toughen up America, there's a new sheriff in town.

buy a snow shovel, buy some gloves, brave the elements!

Don't be weaklings.

Posted by: joel_the_ornery | January 29, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Marie - you're still around? You were the worst columnist at Newsday, and that's saying something.

Posted by: aswnylaw | January 29, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

I'm a little surprised at the lack of comments about the statements made by the SFS staff. At what point did the Associate Director of Sidwell Friends School decide it was appropraite to be sarcastic with the President of the United Sates?

Posted by: baseballguy | January 29, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Regardless of the type of snow this area gets or whether DC is properly prepared for winter precipitation, is it so bad to want a snow day? Snow days were a real joy of my childhood. The anticipation of hearing that your county's schools would be closed and then the thrill of sledding and playing in the snow all day could not be matched. I loved school but relished those days I could spend all day playing in the snow with my friends and siblings. If we didn't get a snow day, I would never have those experiences which frankly were just as important as my education. So as an adult, I cannot help but wish for that rare unexpected day off of work just for the thrill of what the day may hold for me. I am a hard-working employee at my company from sunrise to sunset throughout the year. Regardless of my desire to have a day off of work, why am I a wimp/lazy if I don't want to have to navigate an obstacle course covered in ice to get to work? If I were to fall and injure myself, my productivity at work would suffer much moreso than missing one day of work. If I could drive to work, I would have had no problems but I am an environmentally and economically conscious individual who walks a mile to the closest metro stop. Not a single public sidewalk or sidestreet was plowed or salted by 9 a.m. in my area of Arlington when I left for work yesterday. If the government expects schools and offices to be open by 9 a.m. then it should be sure to have all sidewalks and streets cleared of ICE. I used to live in Boston where it snows on a regular basis. I would trade Ice for 2 feet of snow any day.

Posted by: delfin625 | January 29, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

It's not the snow; it's the ice. It's not a matter of being wimps; it's about putting safety first. I know where I live in VA, we've had a few kids who have lost their lives because they were trying to get to school. I don't mind being called a wimp if it means keeping my child safe.

Posted by: guesswho3 | January 29, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I am sure this was a joke; however, he is Mr. President and just sounded both macho and elitist at the same time. This coming from a father who is sending his kids to a pricey private school.

He shouldn't be surprised that the residents are miffed!!! I am not a resident of DC and I am miffed - in SW IL, schools and day care centers were closed for two days - because they serve citizens who would have to clear feet of snow and drive their children through the steep streets covered with ice and then snow. What he said would be good joke, if he can show us that he did these things when he was in Chicago. Otherwise, this was a wiseguy comment who has his head stuck in the snow!!!

All presidents do this - they forget their "normal citizen" days - remember the check out and price of milk that the senior Bush was ridiculed about (didn't he lose his elections because of that).

Posted by: Illinoismom | January 29, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I grew up outside of Chicago and went to College at University of Maryland (a metro stop in DC). I was also shocked at the "mass hysteria" over an inch of snow that melts by noon. I believe the most entertaining part of it was watching the groundsmen on campus actually getting paid to try and melt the ice on the side walks with leaf blowers.... It does snow and ice a few times every winter there, it blows my mind that they haven't figured out yet.

Posted by: littlepixiej | January 29, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

HAHAHAHA! People are really seriously offended. HA!

Posted by: littlepixiej | January 29, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I am with the person that says we need to get used to Obama's humor. I love it that there are so many people who are having fun or maybe not so much fun being distracted from bigger and more troubling issues of the day. I don't usually use this expresson but in regard to DC and VA and snow - WHATEVER!

Posted by: peaves | January 29, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Not only does Obama not panic at the first sign of snowfall, he can also pronounce the word "nuclear" correctly.

It's kind of a welcome relief to have a yankee president again.

Posted by: gilligan12131 | January 29, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he would think differently if HIS kids had to walk to a bus top and ride to school instead of being driven by a limo. He does not care about our children, not his problem.

Posted by: Bytheshore | January 29, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Are we going to put every comment under the microscope. Some people are so dramatic about this like it's a true safety issue. Let's close all commerce, including gas stations and grocery stores. Why should they "risk their lives so you can get milk." Come on, it's not that dangerous. Unless you are driving on bald tires and forget the brake is on the left (0r is it right side).

Posted by: fredfromupstateny | January 29, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

For a man who's only lived in DC for eight days, Mr. Obama has shown very little tact with his statement. Joke or not, he has belittled the citizens of DC, and by doing so has started to show that he has no class.

Posted by: Emilt | January 29, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

So,prehaps President/Messiah Obama can just
wave his little magic wand and sprinkle his
pixie dust and read a speech from the famous magic teleprompter and prefect spring weather will magically appear since
after all Obama is also the Messiah isn't
he folks? But why didn't Obama walk on water on Jan 20 2009 and why did Obama fail
to feed the gathered 2,000,000 million loyal Obama Cult Members with a couple fish
and a loaf of bread now then?

Posted by: SharonKay2009 | January 30, 2009 6:20 AM | Report abuse

Oh for pete's sake. I think the guy was trying to make a joke. I'll admit, Obama is not a good joke maker/teller. But I really think he was just making idle conversation and mentioned something he found a bit puzzling and thought it would be amusing, especially when he threw in the comment from his daughter (I think he does know kid quotes can make good jokes).

Coming from Chicago to Philadelphia was a revelation - the Philly area doesn't deal all that well with snow either, what with rushes to the supermarket, school closings, etc. I remember growing up in Chicago at a time when most kids walked to school, and schools closed when it was 6 degrees below Zero, and almost always not for snow. And it snows a whole lot more in Chicago.

That said, lots of people above posted good reasons why DC and areas in the Southeast (and even here in Philly) don't deal all that well with snow, and I can accept that. But please, let the guy just tell what he thinks is a funny story occasionally without making a "federal" case of it.

Posted by: vklip | January 31, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

All you snowimps, please please please stop hiding behind the charade that your dearth of snowplows causes your inability to drive in snow.

Were this contrived excuse true, no one in the North would get on the roads before the arrival of the snowplows and salt trucks.

Any decent driver from Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Buffalo, etc., knows how to drive on unplowed streets, often with a foot or more on the road.

I ask you please to strike the proverbial match and snow-drive. Quit cursing the darkness of your fierce overall driving inability.

Posted by: cdumelle | February 2, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I live in Georgia and when we have a rare snow storm everything shuts down. Why? One reason is that we don't get enough practice driving on snow and ice to be competent at it. Just look at the accident statistics in metro Atlanta during a storm to get an idea of the increased risk--and this is when the traffic is extremely light. Imagine the number of accidents we would have in normal rush-hour traffic.

Posted by: kjstjohn | February 3, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I love to see what people stock up on in their pre-storm panic. Before one of our projected "storms" this year, I was behind some people at the grocery store (I went for something I needed to cook dinner that night, not realizing I was stuck in the pre-storm panic until I arrived). As they searched the aisles for what they would need if they were stuck in their homes for days, they chose the following: two dozen glazed donuts, a case of beer, raw chicken, and toilet paper. Awesome.

Posted by: goodwinc | February 3, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

SharonKay2009 | January 30, 2009 6:20 AM
So,prehaps President/Messiah Obama can just
wave his little magic wand and sprinkle his
pixie dust and read a speech from the famous magic teleprompter and prefect spring weather will magically appear since
after all Obama is also the Messiah isn't
he folks? But why didn't Obama walk on water on Jan 20 2009 and why did Obama fail
to feed the gathered 2,000,000 million loyal Obama Cult Members with a couple fish
and a loaf of bread now then?
____________________________

LOL, SharonKay. I was on the mall with everyone else to see history in the making. Obama is the first black leader of the US and of any nation in the Free World. If Obama walked on water or fed the masses with a few fish and loaves, he would be the second person to do that, not the first!

Posted by: kjstjohn | February 3, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

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