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Quoted: Obama on D.C. Snow Days

President Obama walks back to the Oval Office after meeting with House and Senate Republicans Tuesday. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

"Can I make a comment unrelated to the economy?. . . My children's school was canceled today, because of what? Some ice!. . . As my children pointed out, in Chicago, school is never canceled."

-- President Barack Obama to reporters at a White House photo-op this morning with several business leaders. He added: "When it comes to the weather, folks in Washington don't seem to be able to handle things."

By The Reliable Source  |  January 28, 2009; 11:16 AM ET
Categories:  Quoted  
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Did BO gives his kids shovels and point them toward the front door?

Posted by: jezebel3 | January 28, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Like President Obama, I too am from the north (Michigan)and what I have noticed in the 25 years I've lived here is that although as a child I went to school in three foot snowdrifts and school was rarely canceled, the landscape
is different. The landscape is flat up north, where here, being on the east side of the Blue Ridge Mountains it is much more hilly and it seems we get more ice storms here, where as Illinois and Michigan just get more snow.

Posted by: logokopp | January 28, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to DC in the winter, Obama.

Posted by: ShariLeigh131 | January 28, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Obama, welcome to DC. All the charm of a Northern city coupled with all the efficiency of a Southern one!

Posted by: cpf218 | January 28, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Let's see, now. Obama went to private schools in Hawaii, where there probably weren't too many snow days. He never went to school in Chicago. His children in Washington DC are drive to school in limos, with secret service agents shepherding them. Chances are that most other Washington DC public school students don't get that service. BO needs to think about common folk before making statements like this.

Posted by: gene9 | January 28, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Living in Atlanta, the issue is not whether it is snowing or not. It is an issue of equipment and driving experience.

Since we rarely get snow, we have less snow plows, supplies (salt/sand) and manpower to respond to a storm.

Since most people from the south never drive in snow on a regular basis, there is a general panic when they see a flake or two and they all rush home and buy milk and bread and hide in their houses (If someone knows why they buy bread and milk, I would love to hear it)

Because so many crazy drivers who have no clue how to drive in winter weather exist in Atlanta, the drivers from the north (me included) are afraid to be on the roads that we hide our cars in the garage and kick back with the TV on and the fireplace going.

Also, unlike Chicago, we have very limited mass transit so parking the car and taking a train into town is not an option.

Final reason, usually we get ice storms rather than snow.

Why DC staffers get the day off is beyond me but it seems that the city shuts down when there is a rumor that it might snow.

Posted by: csbg001 | January 28, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who moves to DC from the Chicago area, myself included, will notice this and just laugh. People will run out to buy canned goods when there is the threat of an inch of snow.

He'll also learn that the pizza in DC is just, well, not in the same ballpark as Chicago. And, he'll have to catch a flight back to the Windy City if he wants to see friendly, smiling faces. Lots of hostility and contempt for your fellow human being out here, sadly.

Posted by: spacemuffin | January 28, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I think Obama is great -and the last 8 years were a nightmare - heck, I WISH it was a nightmare. It did happen. But I'm from Bradford PA the land of snow AND hills. csbg001 (above) is right. Experience and equipment is the difference. (now I'm in NJ)

Posted by: PaulHoward-NJHomeBuyer-comRealty | January 28, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

gene9 - Oh give me a break. I did go to school in Chicago, grades 1-12, and can attest to school rarely being canceled, we were often bundled up and tossed into the snow to play during recess (I got very good at snowball fights). I live 1/2 block from a school now in Chicago, and walk past it every day on my way to the subway. Every day, children are outside playing throwing snowballs at each other, making snow angels, and attempting slip and slide football games in the ice (as we've had record cold and snow this year), schools have not been canceled once, even when it was -12F that morning a couple of weeks ago (although I noticed the kids were not outside then).

Posted by: jes73 | January 28, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

cpf18, give credit where credit is due. John F. Kennedy made that crack about "charm" and "efficiency".

Posted by: NotBubba | January 28, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to DC, Obama! I'm from New York and to see what people shut down for here is ridiculous. I remember being sent to school in blizzards and on snow days!!!

On the other hand, people here don't need to be out in any inclement weather because they can barely drive in good weather and are definitely not used to driving through snow, icy conditions, etc.

Posted by: jatrini76 | January 28, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I have an idea if he does not like snow days. Resign as President, go back to Chicago and take Biden with you and let a real leader lead the country instead of someone that just wants to whine about something unimportant!!!!!

Posted by: patrickprice1975 | January 28, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I live in northern Michigan (another cold and very snowy location, even more so than Chicago) and I laugh every time my relatives in North Carolina have a day off for an inch of snow. Southern states have less of this type of weather so have less equipment etc devoted to this type of weather (as well as experience in driving in it as other posts have cited). Barack was simply making fun of the difference between the states and how they respond. It was just a gentle "dig" at the perceived "wimpiness" of Washington. His young girls were simply amazed that they had a day off as it not usual based on their experiences thus far.

Posted by: amused7 | January 28, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

wow besides patrickprice1975, most of the comments aren't juvenile, abrasive or insulting. A pleasant change.

Posted by: discipulus04 | January 28, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

It is funny how thin-skinned Washington is. I grew up in Houston so have always been excited whenever it snowed here or even iced over the last 35 years. I had a lovely ride to work this morning because the roads in southern Montgomery County were so well cleared and nobody else was out on the roads.

I think Obama in a good natured way, is suggesting that we take responsibility to navigate our lives through the conditions we confront instead of panicking and finding excuses.

Posted by: downhillhiker | January 28, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

I hate it when somebody tries to compare me
with somebody else such as "why don't you be more like sam"or be more like chicago because i went out yesterday the area around the public park was not treated so it took me 30 min to walk one block.and the
out cry about parents making an arrangement for child care at the last min
being a problem should not be a problem because when it come to the safety of your
child my job comes second my child comes first i can get another job but not another
child without suffering such as what if the schools have close due to not heat ect..

Posted by: camelroe54 | January 29, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

I can understand why those from different parts of the country with colder climates would not understand the DC area attitudes on snow, but I think ice storms are a different matter. There was a pretty thick coating of sheer ice that arrived on Tuesday night, and I don't think that's something you mess around with in terms of kids going to school. I agree that we could stand to be a bit more hardy when it comes to run of the mill snowstorms though.

Posted by: fredterp444 | January 29, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

I'm just glad this was a fluff piece vs. a hard news story on A1 or above the Metro fold.

Folks (that's you from somewhere else and us who grew up here), we here in DC area (and I'll include points south to be inclusive) don't get but a few storms a year. Most of the times they're snow, but sometimes they're ice storms (reverse that for most folks down south a bit). Most of the time we'll have a day like is forecasted for today: sunny and above freezing. This helps get rid of a lot of the mess pretty quickly.

However, the real point (as others have mentioned) is the lack of equipment. This is on purpose for reasons explained below.

As a homeowner, I balk at buying a snow-thrower that's going to sit in my garage and maybe, maybe get two uses a year. I can get by without it. The money saved is spent on something else more important. That's the way I see the local governments. Yes, they could buy more fancy snow removal machines and hire extra manpower to deal with it, but that's money that's better spent elsewhere as they're used so infrequently throughout the year.

Yes, Obama is right, we in Washington are wimps compared to Chicagoans when it comes to dealing with winter weather. There's a reason for that, however, and that's because we don't deal with it on a daily (weekly?) basis. If we did, we'd deal with it a lot better than we do now.

Posted by: SamFelis | January 29, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I live in VA and yes school does get canceled a little to easily for a few snow flakes, few weeks ago it was like 1/10 of an inch of just snow. But we don't live like was stated up a "flat" region, we have mountains, very band mountains. School's get closed because they get a lot of snow and ice where it is hard for even plow trucks to get up there, so school gets canceled, for safety people! Yes Obama too often closed for no good reason, but usually it's for a good reason - try driving a bit old school bus up a 45 degree winding road covered in snow and ice - you want to get a bus load of children hurt? Cancel school then.

Posted by: dlaj21 | January 30, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

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