"Barry from D.C." calls Tim Kaine on WTOP; why no "Adrian from D.C."?
Tim Kaine's final "Ask the Governor" hour Tuesday on WTOP started like any other: A grilling by host Mark Segraves about snow removal and other political headaches. But it became clear that this was no ordinary show when "Barry from D.C." got on the line.
"Governor Kaine, this is actually the president of the United States calling," a familiar voice said.
"No ... ," a skeptical Kaine said.
"I have some questions about traffic in Northern Virginia," President Obama said with a chuckle. "Rather than go there, I just want to say how proud we are of your service as governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia and wish you and the family all the best this Christmas season, after a just terrific round of service for the people of Virginia."
"Well, Mr. President, that means a lot," said Kaine, who also serves as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. "I still think my happiest day as governor was in November of 2008, and the great work we did together across the nation and in Virginia was spectacular. I'm excited to continue to be in service, as they say."
The call came after four months of planning to send off Kaine -- who has appeared on the show every month for the past four years -- in style. The shout-out by Obama was a deep secret until Tuesday, when the White House confirmed and suggested the "Barry from D.C." intro. He rang in at 10:18 a.m. -- the first time any president has appeared on the show and first time the station skipped the sacred traffic and weather updates "on the eights."
"Kaine was giddy," Segraves told us. "He was really surprised and very touched."
Obama wasn't the only VIP to pay tribute: Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley; Virginia governor-elect Bob McDonnell; Kaine's father-in-law Linwood Holton, a former Virginia governor; musician (and Virginia native) Bruce Hornsby; Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille; and Rep. Gerry Connolly all weighed in. Segraves made a deal with the politicians: No pesky questions, just this once.
One local leader was conspicuously absent: D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty. "He refused to call in and it wasn't for lack of asking," said Segraves, who told us Fenty -- unlike other politicians -- has rebuffed all but one attempt to be on the show since taking office. The mayor's spokeswoman said he was "not able to call" but considers Kaine a good friend, a world-class leader and "looks forward to continuing to work closely with him on issues of importance to the Democratic Party."
The Reliable Source
December 23, 2009; 1:02 AM ET
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